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Respirator Face Masks - Top Guide to N95, FFP2, FFP3 and N99

Respirator Face Masks - Top Guide to N95, FFP2, FFP3 and N99

Respirator Face Masks - Top Guide to N95, FFP2, FFP3 and N99

Are you thinking about getting a respirator face mask but feeling confused about the alphabet soup of N95, FFP3 and so on? Well, you’ve come to the right place! We at maskzofsweden.com have put together a guide that will tell you all you need to know about the different types of respirator face masks, how to wear them, and when to wear them.

Guide to respirator face masks:

● What is a respirator face mask?

● How to put on a respirator face mask?

● What are the different types of respirator face masks?

● When should a respirator face mask be worn?

● When should respirator face masks not be worn?

● How else to protect yourself in addition to wearing a face mask?

 

What is a respirator face mask?

Respirator face masks are designed to fit tightly to the face - they in effect create a facial seal. Examples of popular respirator face masks are N95, N99, FFP2 and FFP3.

Why should I wear a respirator face mask?

You should wear a respirator face mask when you need the highest level of protection to protect yourself from airborne particles (including bacteria and viruses) and liquid.

 

How do they work? When used properly, a respirator face mask will create a facial seal around the nose and mouth. The mask will filter the air that enters and exits the wearer at an efficiency level that is designated by that particular respirator.

So, for instance, an N95 mask filters at least 95% of airborne particles while an N99 mask filters at least 99% of airborne particles.

Do note that there are some respirators that have exhalation valves. The exhalation valve is a one-way valve. This means that the valve closes when you breathe in and so you won’t breathe in pathogens. However, when you breathe out, the valve opens and lets the air you breathe out escape unfiltered. Respirators with valves are designed to help the wearer feel cooler and more comfortable. This is because wearing a respirator for a long period of time can be an uncomfortable experience - the respirator traps the heat and air you breathe out from your nose and mouth.

Nevertheless, wearing respirators with valves could potentially endanger those around the wearer. This is because the breath from an infected person will be allowed to escape unfiltered which could potentially spread the virus to other people around the wearer.

How to put on a respirator face mask? You should be fit-tested in order to find the right model, style, and size of respirator for you. Here are the steps for putting on a respirator face mask safely:

1. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or hand sanitizer before touching the mask.

2. Cup the respirator in one hand with the nose piece at your fingertips.

3. With that one hand, place the mask over your nose and mouth with the straps dangling down. The nosepiece should fit over the bridge of your nose while the bottom edge of the mask should fit just under your chin.

4. Pull the bottom strap over your head and secure under your ears. Then pull the top strap over your head and adjust it to fit comfortably above the ears.

5. Mold the nose piece to the shape of your nose. Do this by setting two fingertips from each hand along either side of the metal nose clip (if present). Slide your fingertips down both sides of the metal strip to mold it to the bridge of your nose.

 

How to check the seal of a respirator face mask? Once you’ve put on your respirator face mask, you should check the seal. This is how you cheek the seal of a respirator face mask:

1. Place both hands against the mask.

2. Breathe in to make sure that the respirator seals tightly against your face.

3. Breathe out or exhale. While you are breathing out, feel for any leakage from the nose piece or around the ages.

4. If you feel leakage from the nose area, re-mold the nose piece.

5. If you feel air leaking from the edges of the mask, adjust the straps on your head.

6. If you cannot achieve a proper seal with your mask due to air leakage, ask for help or try a different size or model.

 

How to remove a respirator face mask?

It is important to know how to safely remove a respirator face mask - this is what you need to do:

1. Wash your hands well with soap and water or hand sanitizer.

2. Do NOT touch the front of the respirator face mask because it may be contaminated.

3. Pull the bottom strap over your head. Let the strap hang down in front of you. Next, pull the top strap over your head.

4. Holding the mask by the strap, you can either throw the mask away or you can store it in a clean, sealed bag.

5. If you have used the mask in a medical or healthcare setting, throw away the mask in a designated trash can or waste container.

 

Can you reuse a respirator face mask? Generally, a respirator face mask can be reused for a maximum of 3 times if it hasn’t been used under extreme conditions.

The respirator face mask is recommended to be used only once if it has been used under extreme conditions.

The mask should be discarded in any of these conditions:

● it becomes wet or visibly dirty,

● it becomes damaged or deformed,

● breathing through it becomes more difficult,

● it no longer forms an effective seal to the face, or

● it becomes contaminated with blood, respiratory or nasal secretions, or other bodily fluids from patients.

 

What are the different types of respirator face masks?

The most popular respirator face masks on the market include the N95, N99, FFP2 and FFP3. Here we break down the key similarities and differences between these masks.

The names of these respirator face masks indicate the standards or grades set in different countries, with a varying percentage of filtering effect. For instance, N95 is the United States standard equivalent to FFP2 in Europe and KN95 in China.

N95 face mask

● 95% filtering effect

● United States standard  

N99 face mask

● 99% filtering effect

● United States standard

FFP2 face mask

● 95% filtering effect

● European standard

FFP3 face mask

● 99% filtering effect

● European standard

 

When should a respirator face mask be worn?

Healthcare facilities such as hospitals and care homes

Respirator face masks such as N95 is recommended for use in healthcare facilities including hospitals and care homes. Respirator face masks are recommended for healthcare workers caring for patients who have confirmed or suspected infectious diseases - the healthcare workers would need protection from airborne particles and fluid hazards.

A respirator face mask may be used in combination with a face shield to block high velocity streams of body fluids and blood.

 

During travel

When you expect to be in a crowded or congested place or in a setting without good ventilation of fresh air for an extended period of time - such as when you are taking a flight - you can consider wearing a respirator face mask.

This will help to protect you from getting infected on your journey. In addition, it will help prevent the wearer from spreading any infections in confined spaces.

When should respirator face masks not be worn?

In times of mask shortages, respirator face masks should be reserved in the first instance for healthcare workers who may be exposed to high velocity splatters, splashes or sprays of body fluids or blood.

 

How else to protect yourself in addition to wearing a face mask?

Wearing masks alone is not sufficient to protect yourself from infectious diseases. Other important measures that you have to take are:

● wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water, or with hand sanitizer

● maintain a distance of at least 1 meter from others

● avoid places that are crowded

● avoid enclosed places with poor ventilation

● avoid close-contact settings such as close-range conversations

 

 

 

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