If in case a store sells N95 masks, don’t buy them! Not unless you are one of the country’s frontliners, or have plans of donating the protective masks to them.
World health leaders and medical professionals have put forward an appeal to the general public, to not buy N95 masks because doing so will deplete the supply of the best Covid-19 facial protection for the medical community.
General merchandise retailer Target, has in fact, apologized for selling N95 masks to the general public, as having done so had contributed to the shortage of a PPE vital to medical frontliners during their fight against the novel coronavirus.
Why N95 Masks are the Best Type of Personal Protection Equipment
Even before the global outbreak of the Covid-19 infectious disease, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) strongly recommended the use of the N95 type of respirator masks for occupational safety and protection.
First off, manufacturers can legally brand a facial or surgical mask as N95, only if that particular personal protective equipment (PPE) had passed the mandatory-fit test prescribed by the National Instituefor Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Otherwise, the PPE does not earn the NIOSH certification that will allow a manufacturer to brand the PPE product as N95.
Secondly, N95 surgical or respirator masks are required to undergo a second round of testing and approval from the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA certification will then provide final proof that the N95 masks that will be released and supplied to the medical community, can provide adequate and appropriate facial protection to professional practitioners when performing surgery.
The NIOSH and FDA approvals make the N95 different from standard face masks because they come with guarantees of the PPE’s distinguishing characteristics:
N95’s are better known in the medical world as surgical and respirator masks because they can effectively protect wearers against contamination brought by airborne particles or by liquid substances, including blood.
NIOSH and FDA approved N95 facial PPE ensures there is a tight seal between the wearer’s face and respirator, while filtering at least 95% of airborne particulates.
Technological improvements have been made to the latest models of N95 masks, through the inclusion of an exhalation valve that makes breathing easier for N95 wearers.
After all, the coronavirus strain for one, are known to stay active in the air for up to 30 minutes. During that period, transmission of the contagious disease is possible by breathing in vapor that has been contaminated by way of sneezing and coughing, or by saliva droplets that landed on surfaces of commonly touched equipment or objects.