NIOSH-Approved N95 Masks
N95 masks and respirators are devices that you wear over your face and nose to reduce infection transmission. Medical practitioners and members of the public wear them to prevent the spread of infection, especially in crowded indoor settings.
Not all personal protective equipment is equal. Some provide higher protection than others. Fortunately, our certified N95 masks provide medical-grade protection helping to keep you and those around you safer.
What Does NIOSH Approved Mean?
NIOSH-approved N95 masks are masks certified to filter out 95 percent of particles by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). These masks are widely considered to offer the optimal combination of breathability and pathogen protection and are used throughout the medical sector. They have recently come to the fore in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
What Does the N95 mean?
N95 is a rating category that refers to the proportion of particles a mask or respirator stops from getting into the wearer’s body. Other particulate filtering standards include N99, which filters 99 percent of airborne particles, N100, which filters 99.97 percent of airborne particles, and masks with the “P” prefix, which are partially or strongly resistant to oil.
How to Know if Your Mask Is NIOSH Approved
You can tell if your mask is NIOSH-approved if it comes with the “N95” moniker. Legally, only masks proven to filter out 95 percent of particles can carry labeling. If they don’t, then you cannot guarantee the level of protection.
Are N95 Masks Reusable?
N95 masks are not generally reusable. The maximum recommended use for standard equipment is 8 to 12 hours. Wearing masks for longer than that can compromise their capacity to filter out particles. Some medical facilities do reuse N95 masks, but this process usually requires sophisticated recycling equipment on-site.
Surgical masks are mouth and nose coverings designed to filter out particles and prevent patient contamination. We offer a range of medical-grade surgical masks surgeons can use during operations to avoid complications and keep both patients and staff safe.
What Qualifies for a Surgical Mask?
Surgical masks must reach minimum standards for protection before they qualify. Under ASTM F1862 standards, they should block large-particle droplets, sprays, splatter, or splashes that could foster the transmission of germs from patient to physician, and vice versa. They should also meet Class I or Class II flammability requirements under 16 CFR Part 1610.
All our surgical masks include accurate labeling descriptions and a list of all materials that come into contact with the body when worn. Surgical masks do not necessarily provide antimicrobial or antiviral protection, nor do they come with any particle filtration claims.
Are Surgical Masks Reusable?
Surgical masks are not reusable in general. However, leaving them in a sterile environment for a few days to disinfect may allow you to wear them for a second or third time before discarding, as long as you follow the correct hygiene procedures. If you are a facility, you should follow standard CDC disinfection protocols to ensure continued hygiene with reuse.
How to Don and Doff Surgical Masks
It is important to know how to safely don and doff a mask to protect yourself from contamination, especially in a medical setting. Here are the basic guidelines.
- When putting on a surgical mask, bring it to your face with both hands. Then ensure that it stretches over your nose and down just below your chin.
- Next, pull the top strap over your head, placing it at the crown.
- Then, pull the bottom strap over your head and place it at the base of the neck. Once donned, the surgical mask should feel secure and remain in place during normal activities. If you notice that the cover is not tight enough, you may need to shorten the straps to provide sufficient tension over your nose and mouth.
- Lastly, perform a user seal check. Cup both your (clean) hands over the surface of the mask and then gently breathe out into it. The mask should lift slightly from your face, indicating that air is passing through the filter and not around the edges.
When removing a surgical mask, do not touch the front. Begin by removing the bottom strap by pulling it over your head and letting it dangle in front of you. Then remove the top strap so that the mask gently pulls away from your face. After that, follow your facility’s disposal guidelines. Usually, you will need to place the used equipment in a designated receptacle.
Our high-quality disposable masks are loose-fitting, fluid-resistant PPE covering the nose and mouth you can throw away once you finish with them. They help to prevent liquid particle exchange between patients, doctors, and the generic public.
How Well Do Disposable Masks Keep Out Viruses and Particulates?
Facemasks, combined with other personal hygiene practices, such as hand-washing, reduce the transmission of viruses and particulates via two mechanisms:
- Preventing the spread of infection from an infected person in the community to a non-infected wearer.
- Preventing the spread of disease from an infected wearer to a non-infected member of the community.
Note on COVID-19: At the start of the crisis, public health officials in many countries did not recommend using face masks because they did not know the extent to which asymptomatic patients spread the disease. Subsequent evidence, however, suggested that transmission could occur even without symptoms, leading to the current mask recommendations. According to the CDC, medical practitioners should wear N95 masks. The public should wear cloth face coverings.
Are Disposable Masks N95 Rated?
Some disposable masks are N95-rated, but not all. However, even disposable masks that do not receive NIOSH ratings can still provide protection, especially against virus-containing fluid expelled when people cough or sneeze.
Disposable masks are highly convenient and offer a pleasant wearing experience. You can purchase them in bulk and wear a fresh one when you begin a new session. They are an inexpensive way to provide moderate protection to yourself and the people around you. For higher protection, choose N95-rated PPE only.