N95 respirators are a tight-fitting face mask. The N95 face mask will protect the wearer from splashes, sprays, and large droplets. Still, this respirator will also filter out 95 percent of tiny particles (0.3 microns), including many viruses and unwanted bacteria. The N95 face mask is designed to form a tight seal around your nose and mouth. Elastic bands, that loop around your ears, are there to hold it securely to your face. These respirators aren’t one-size-fits-all. N95 face masks require a fit test before use to ensure that a proper seal is formed. If the mask doesn’t seal effectively to your face, you won’t receive the expected protection. It is also recommended that all facial hair be removed as this can impede the ability of the mask to form a good seal on the user. After the initial fit test, you must continue to perform a seal check each time that you wear a face mask. N95 masks are not designed for nor intended for use on children. The generic shape of the masks is not intended to seal correctly on the faces of most children. With this said, please take extra precautions with children during outbreaks and have them follow the additional measures listed in this article at all times.
How to Put On Your N95 Face Mask
- Shave and remove all facial hair before applying your mask to allow for the best seal possible.
- Using soap and warm water, wash your hands thoroughly before opening your mask packaging and handling the mask itself.
- Once the mask is removed from the package, wash your hands very well a second time.
- Using one hand, cup the mask and place it over the nose and mouth area of your face. Avoid touching the outside edges of the mask or your face. Doing this will keep both clean.
- Pull the bottom strap of the mask over your head and secure it tightly around your neck, just under your ears.
- Pull the top strap of the mask over your head and secure it tightly around your head, just above your ears.
- Using light finger pressure, bend the nose piece, so it fits securely around the bridge of your nose. Some masks may not have a nose piece, if yours does not, skip this step.
- Test your fit and seal using the negative and positive pressure checks below.
How to Make Sure your N95 Face Mask Fits
Negative Pressure CheckPlace both hands over the mask making sure to cover it entirely and begin to inhale sharply. If the mask is properly fitting and has a good seal, it will begin to pull in towards your face. Air leaking around your face or eye sockets means that an adjustment is required to achieve an optimal seal. Be careful not to reposition the mask on your face during the period of the test.
Positive Pressure CheckPlace both hands over the mask making sure to cover it entirely and begin to exhale sharply. If the mask is properly fitting and has a good seal, no air should leak out. If you do notice an air leak, adjust the nose piece and the straps on your N95 mask and repeat both of the negative and positive pressure checks. Please note, if your mask has an exhalation valve that you will need to cover it entirely for this test.
How to Remove Your N95 Face Mask
- Using soap and warm water, wash your hands thoroughly before bringing them close to your face and nose area.
- Without touching the front of the mask, pull the bottom strap over the top of your head, letting it hang down towards your chest.
- Without touching the front of the mask, pull the top strap over your head.
- Check your mask for any damage or wetness that may have occurred.
- If wet or damaged, please throw away your mask.
- Be sure to carefully check for any contaminates before resuing your n95 mask
Other Ways to Prevent The Spread of Respiratory Infection (COVID-19, coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2)Wearing a mask is not the only respiratory protective measure that can help aid in reducing the spread of COVID-19 and other infections airborne disease. There are several measures, that when used with proper protective equipment, can help reduce the spread according to the centers for disease control.
Cleaning hands frequently
- Keeping your hand clean is very important as infected respiratory droplets may land on hard surfaces or objects that you are in contact with regularly. Using soap and water wash your hands thoroughly and frequently. If soap and water are not readily available, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer can and should be used.
- Avoiding contact with people from outside of your house is one of the best additional measures that can be taken. Reduced exposure equals reduced risk. Avoid contact with anyone who may be sick. If you need to be in contact, be sure to wear a properly fitting N95 mask. Surgical masks will no provide you with the level of protection required.
Not touching your face
- If it’s not necessary, do not touch your face. If you need to touch your face, please make sure that you have cleaned your hands first. Please be careful when putting on your N95 face mask to avoid contact between your face and hands as much as possible.