08 Jul What Does N95 Stand For?
These days, when it’s hard to get through the day without talking about the devastating Covid 19 outbreak or hearing news about the latest figures for your hometown, your state and our nation. If you’ve been watching the news, you’ve probably heard about the shortage of PPE (personal protective equipment) and the pressing need in our overcrowded hospitals for things like protective gowns, face masks and N95 particulate respirators.
In the medical community, face masks are in demand, but N95 face masks are among the most needed items.
What Are N95 Masks?
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), “An N95 respirator is a respiratory protective device designed to achieve a very close facial fit and very efficient filtration of airborne particles.”
The N refers to the type of filter or particulate respirator. Filters designated with an N are not resistant to oil-based aerosols. Oil-based airborne particles are usually associated with things like lubricants and cutting fluids.
When it comes to the novel coronavirus, there are no oil-based airborne particles to worry about. That makes the N series particulate respirator an important tool for healthcare workers on the frontlines of the pandemic.
“The ‘N95’ designation means that when subjected to careful testing, the respirator blocks at least 95 percent of very small (0.3 micron) test particles,” the FDA explains. “If properly fitted, the filtration capabilities of N95 respirators exceed those of face masks. However, even a properly fitted N95 respirator does not completely eliminate the risk of illness or death.”
Who Needs N95 Masks?
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend that the general public wear N95 respirators to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including coronavirus (COVID-19),” the FDA reports. “Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for health care workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.”