N95 / KN95 / P2 Respirators
Respirator masks are specialty masks designed to provide protection against air-borne particles including viruses, bacteria, dust, haze, droplets and other particles. These offer a much higher level of protection from harmful particles than surgical masks or other disposable face masks. N95, KN95 and P2 masks are worn over the mouth and nose, and form a tight seal when worn correctly. With this tight seal in place, these respirators have a filtration efficiency of 94-95 percent - meaning they can filter out 94-95 percent of particles from the air. For this reason, respirators are considered medical grade or industrial grade, and are generally only recommended for medical workers or construction workers at risk of inhaling harmful particles.
Sove CPAP Clinic is a medical specialist group and a proud supplier of a range of PPE products, including a variety of competitively priced respirator face masks. For any questions relating to our N95, KN95 or P2 respirators, we have clinicians able to assist you. We can be contacted by calling 1300 76 29 39 or emailing us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Most respirators are designed to be disposable face masks, and should only be used once. Most disposable respirator masks are designed to be moulded to the face to create a tight seal. This seal is crucial to ensure particles from the air are not being let in between the mask and face.
To filter out harmful particles, most respirators utilise 4-5 layers of special melt-blown nonwoven fabric of moderate thickness for optimal particle absorption. A special electrostatic filter helps to capture more harmful particles from the air to provide better protection. However, as these face masks are tightly sealed with high filtration efficiency, they can be difficult to breathe easily in. As a result, they are often not recommended for people with breathing difficulties such as asthma, or in an area with low oxygen concentration, or to be used for too long a time period.
Different types of respirators
There are several different types of respirator masks, which are marginally different to each other. Each type of mask may be graded to a different standard, and offer slightly different filtration efficiency. However, these differences are minimal and all of these respirator masks deliver a comparable level of respiratory protection from harmful particles. The main three types of respirator masks include P2 respirators, KN95 respirators, and N95 respirators.
- P2 Respirators: P2 masks are graded according to an Australian standard. These are certified to filter at least 94% of airborne particles/aerosols.
- N95 Respirators: N95 Respirators are graded according to an American standard. These are certified to filter at least 95% of airborne particles/aerosols.
- KN95 Respirators: KN95 Respirators are graded according to a Chinese standard. These are certified to filter at least 95% of airborne particles/aerosols.
There are other differences between the testing conditions of these respirator masks, including the requirements they have to pass for inward leakage, flow rates, inhalation resistance and more.
However, with all respirators buyers must make sure that the masks they are purchasing are certified according to their claims. The supplier of any respirators should have some evidence that the masks comply with Australian standards, US standards or Chinese standards depending on their claims.
Fitting and wearing a KN95 Mask
Respirators only work effectively when a tight seal is in place between the face and the mask. As a result, these masks are not effective if the wearer has any facial hair between the mask and the face. N95, KN95 and P2 masks need to be fitted properly when worn. To test this, users need to perform a ‘fit test’.
To conduct a fit test properly, you can follow the following steps.
- Holding the mask, place the respirator on your face
- Place the headband or ties over your head and at the base of your neck, or around your ears
- Press the respirator onto your face to ensure a seal across your face, cheeks and the bridge of your nose. Press down the nose clip to ensure a tight seal.
- Check the positive pressure seal of the respirator by gently exhaling. If air escapes, the respirator needs to be adjusted
- Check the negative pressure seal of the respirator by gently inhaling. If the respirator is not drawn in towards your face, or air leaks around the face seal, readjust the respirator and repeat process, or check for defects in the respirator
- Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for fit checking of individual brands and types of P2 respirators, N95 masks and KN95 face masks
Most respirators are disposable, not re-useable, and so should not be reapplied after they have been removed. When wearing a disposable mask, you should also avoid touching the mask or leaving it dangling around your neck.
Respirators should be changed when they become moist, and disposed of in a closed bin. It also important to wash your hands with soap and water or a hand sanitiser when putting on and taking off the mask, or whenever you have touched a used mask.
The N95 mask is a form of respiratory protective wear worn over the nose and mouth to help minimise the chance of inhaling airborne particles like viruses and other germs. It is a disposable mask made from synthetic polymer fibres produced in a highly specialised process called melt blowing. During this process, the inner layer of the N95 mask is created which forms the filtration layer capable of filtering out at least 95% of airborne particles when worn correctly.
During outbreaks of respiratory illnesses and during periods of intense air pollution, wearing N95 masks has been shown to help reduce the inhalation of compromised air, filtering out nasty pathogens which lead to illness or which can aggravate existing respiratory problems. Maintaining clear and unhindered respiration is vitally important for remaining fit and healthy and people with pre-existing conditions or respiratory fragility can particularly benefit from wearing face masks while they are out in public and unable to control the breathing environments that they find themselves in.
Is P2 mask same as N95?
The N95 mask is also known as a P2 mask or as P2/N95 respirators.
What is a N95 mask?
Unlike other cloth face coverings, the N95 mask is a specially designed and manufactured air filter mask. It works by providing a layer of specialist protection across the entire inner surface of the mask so it is important that it is fitted exactly to the manufacturer’s instruction to ensure that it will work effectively. The fit should be tight-fitting and should cover the entire nose and mouth. For this reason it may not be the most effective choice for people with facial hair or for children.
It should also be noted that while the mask protects against airborne particles like air pollution and other tiny pollutants, it can actually increase breathing difficulty while it is worn. As an antiviral mask, your full respiration must occur through the protective layers of filtration to ensure that the air you are breathing through the mask in cleaner and more protected than if you were not wearing a mouth mask. For this reason, you will notice the level of difficulty to inhale a breath increases lightly until you are used to the feeling of the mask and of breathing while you're wearing it. As an aid to prevent the spread of airborne viruses, wearing N95 masks while in a public setting could be beneficial. It may reduce your chances of contracting an illness and of unintentionally spreading an illness that you may not know that you have. But how you respond to wearing it is also important. Do not continue to wear your N95 mask if you are experiencing difficulty in breathing and always consult a medical professional, such as your local GP, if you are experiencing shortness of breath or acute respiratory distress.
Other ways of helping to stop the spread of viruses may be more beneficial to you and include adhering to a strict personal hygiene practice and limiting your time spent in public spaces like the grocery store, petrol stations, pharmacies and other indoor environments. Contact with public surfaces should also be limited and you should wash your hands for a minimum of 30 seconds with soap and warm water before you leave your home and upon arriving home again after being out in public spaces. Soap and warm water remain the gold standard in hand hygiene as the combination helps to remove oils on our skin responsible for containing microbes.
While you are out and about, you may not be able to always control your contact with other surfaces or have access to warm water and soap. It is ideal to carry some form of hand sanitiser with you that is ideally alcohol based with a minimum 70% alcohol content. You can also carry alcohol wipes with you for wiping down surfaces like shopping baskets and trolleys as well as the handles of communal fridges, doors, etc.
Other forms of sanitisers that carry active ingredients like benzalkonium chloride instead of alcohol are effective at removing most forms of germs but not all. While outside and in environments that you are unable to control or which may be filled with other people, try to minimise how often you touch your face with your hands until you have an opportunity to wash them thoroughly. Wearing surgical gloves like those worn by health care workers while you are out in public can assist with minimising potentially compromised surfaces. Ensure that they are disposed of when you get home appropriately and that you wash your hands again even after wearing them.
As the largest and most trusted providers of CPAP machines and associated respiratory machines and accessories in Australia and New Zealand, we are committed to the affordable care and health of all of our clients. Our sleep specialist consultants are now available online. We can help you select the correct ventilator equipment and assist you with monitoring and managing your respiratory treatment recommended by your sleep study.
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