The Covid-19 outbreak has given rise to the need for all individuals to wear face masks. According to the WHO, it is mandatory to wear face masks when you get out of your house, especially in public. This step is taken to restrict the spread of the virus through the transmission of air droplets from an infected person to a healthy person. However, as you start taking precautionary measures and look out for masks to wear daily, you come across different kinds of masks. These include Surgical Mouth Masks, NIOSH Approved Respirators, N95 Masks, and more. So, how do you choose the right mask for your safety and security?

On this page, let us try and distinguish between the different kinds of masks, their use, and how to know which one you need for yourself.

What is Respirator?

Many employers are advising their employees to use a respirator. The need to wear respirators existed even before the Coronavirus pandemic hit countries across the globe. However, earlier, it was suggested based on different workplace tasks and responsibilities.

A respirator is a personal protective device used to cover the nose and the mouth. With the help of elastic bands or strings, an individual wears the mask on the face. The objective of the respirator is to lessen the risk of inhaling airborne particles. In recent times, the use of respirators has significantly increased to protect the wearer from being exposed to the Coronavirus infection. The respirator ensures that the wearer does not inhale any of the infected droplets and is also protected from dust particles, infectious agents, vapours, or gases.

How does the Respirator protect the wearer?

There are two simple ways in which the respirator protects the wearer. The first kind of respirator eliminates air contaminants and is known as air-purifying respirators (APR). Under this category, there are particulate respirators which remove airborne particles and gas masks, which remove gases and chemicals.

The second type of respirators is known as air-supplying respirators. They protect the wearer by releasing clean respirable air from another source. These include self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), which supply their own air and airline respirators, which use compressed air from a remote source.

Particulate respirators are further classified into three sub-categories. These include:

Particulate filtering facepiece respirators: These respirators are disposable. They are discarded when they are no longer suitable for use in the future. Some of the aspects that make them unsuitable for use include excessive resistance, physical damage, or hygiene levels. Another popular name for this type of masks is N95.

Elastomeric respirators: These respirators are reusable. You can use them over and over again after cleaning the facepiece. The filter cartridges need to be replaced or discarded when they are no longer fit for use.

Powered air-purifying respirators (PAPRs): This respirator has a battery-powered blower. The blower is used for airflow through the filters.

How to know if an N95 Filtering Facepiece Respirator is NIOSH-Approved?

The packaging of many face masks reads N95, but it may not be the right kind of respirator. There are chances that it is not genuine and does not comply with all the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) approval requirements.

A NIOSH-approved N95 respirator is suggested for respiratory protection. Out of all the respirators available in the market, it is the one being used commonly. Again, many packages might read N95, but they might not be the right N95 respirator or one that is NIOSH-approved.

There are ten classes of particulate filters approved by NIOSH currently available in the market. The categorization of various classes depends on filtration capabilities. The minimal level of filtration approved is 95%.

N95 is the term used to indicate the class of respirators that have N95 filters. These filters eliminate particles from the air before the wearer breathes it. According to the terms of NIOSH, a respirator is classified as N95 if its filter removes at least 95% of airborne particles. The worst case of testing is taken into consideration to decide the class, and for this purpose, the most-penetrating sized particle is used. The filters that meet the required criteria are given a 95 rating.

There are many filtering facepiece respirators with N95 class filter. These meet the required filtration performance and are classified as N95 respirators.

Where are they available?

Employers and Australian state authorities may have told you that you need N95 respirators to protect you from inhalation hazards, airborne particles, and Coronavirus. But when you step out into the market, you are offered a wide range of face masks available at different prices, making the entire purchase process difficult for you.

There are many manufacturers in Melbourne with a large variety of respirator models. At Strapit Surgimask, you can buy genuine N95 NIOSH-approved masks. These respirators are of the highest quality and meet the robust NIOSH standards. They are suitable for frontline health workers and protect against small viral and bacterial particles. The two elastic headbands enable a perfect fit around your face guaranteeing comfort.

Author's Bio: 

N95 NIOSH respirator mask with high quality that meet high standards of the quality mentioned in the books. It protects against small viral and bacterial particles.