Why do doctors recommend wearing N95 face masks?
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, physicians and other health professionals have continued to stress the everyday necessity and importance of wearing masks to protect against the spread of SARS- CoV-2. While reusable cloth masks have been recommended until recently, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other experts acknowledge N95, KN95or KF94 masks provide the most protection when in public indoor spaces given how transmissible the SARS- CoV-2 Omicron variant is.
With National Instıtue for Occupatıonal Safety and Health (NIOSH) approved N95 masks no longer in short supply, CDC guidance provides that people may choose to wear a NIOSH approved N95 mask for personal use instead of a cloth mask. N95 masks filter up to 95 % of particles in the air when approved by NIOSH and proper fit can be achieved. People could be aware, though , that about 60% of KN95 masks in the United States are counterfeit and don’t meet NIOSH standards.
N95 face masks provide additional protection
“Now more than ever, We need to decrease the transmission of Covid-19.” said Dr. Edje, noting that Omicron is the most contagious of the variants, so far.It is times higher than that of the Delta variant and second most contagious virus known to man, only second to measles. “This is the reason that N95s are recommended for use by the general fabric,” she added, noting that “N95 masks offer the highest level of protection because they protect against both large and small particles rather than just large particles.” Additionally, N95 masks “ are made of multiple layers of a synthetic fiber called polypropylene and if they are worn as instructed, they block 95% of particles in the air from passing through,” said Dr. Edje.
Make sure the mask covers your face
“All masks should cover the face from the bridge of the nose- where glasses would sit- to under the chin ,” said Dr. Edje. “The wearer should be able to turn his or her head to either side, and up and down without the mask gaping at the edges.” With N95s, “don’t twist the loops to tighten the mask as this produces gaps and decreases the effectiveness of a mask by about %60,” she said.
N95s might be suitable for your face
“N95 masks can be specifically fit the person’s face, fit-tested,as they are for health care workers,” said Dr.Edje, “This means there is a process whereby the wearer’s ability to smell and taste certain substances in the air is tested while they are wearing the N95.” Typically, bearded individuals have to shave to be properly fit-tested.” she said. “Only 1%of an infectious dose of Covid-19 will be able to penetrate a fitted N95 mask and it will take 2.500 hours exposure for this transmission to occur. “A non- fit tested N95 will protect the wearer from an infected individual who is also wearing an N95, for 25 hours of exposure,” said Dr. Edje.” This is in contrast to two unmasked individuals -one infected and one non infected - who can only be together for 15 minutes without the uninfected becoming infected.”
Always wear in public spaces
“If the wearer will be indoors,in an unventilated space,in a home with a person who is quarantined or isolating in an area where known exposure is likely, it is recommended to mask continuously,” said Dr. Edje. “ Additionally , if one is emerging from quarantine or isolation, masks should be worn until day 10.” “For health care workers, we can try to at least dispose of our N95 everyday or after a one time use,” said Dr. Seija “ But say you are going to get three or four - meaning you are going to get it from the government - you are going to have to be diligent and aware of when to use or not to use them to optimize protection against Covid,” “The CDC recommends that we consider using high - filtration respirators any time that we are going out into public,” he said. “That is what we have learned,especially with Omicron.”
Watch out for counterfeits
The unfortunate reality is counterfeit masks are widely available. That is why it is important to be mindful of what to be on the lookout for when identifying if an N95 mask might be fake. The AMA worked with the National İnstitute for Occupational Safety and Health to help physicians identify counterfeit respirators. Purchasing a mask directly from a NIOSH approved manufacturer is the best way to ensure you aren’t getting a counterfeit mask.
Try to relax when wearing N95s
“The biggest thing when it comes to breathing is there’s probably a sense of anxiety or suffocating that comes with it,” said Dr. Seija. “And that’s a totally natural reaction, particularly for people who aren’t used to it. “But we are heading towards the direction where this is our new normal,so the most important consideration about wearing a respirator is how does it fit? Is it comfortable for you? Dr. Seija said as he modeled a mask that caused his ears to stick out. “This is too small for me and it’s too tight. “I can use this if I need to, but it’s not going to be the right fit for me, and it is going to affect how I breathe. That’s why, when wearing N95s, people should “try to be relaxed and breathe as normally as possible.” said Dr. Edje, noting that it is important to “make sure it fits snuggly but doesn’t leave gaps.” “I often tell patients there’s a stepwise approach to wearing N95s,” said Dr. Seija. “If you aren’t comfortable, try walking around your house or somewhere that you are comfortable and you feel safe first.”
What are some ti̇ps to make weari̇ng a face mask easi̇er?
Sometimes it’s hard to know where your day will take you, so keeping a small stash of masks in your car, purse, backpack and office makes it easy to grab one and go -no matter what’s on your schedule. Wearing a mask doesn’t have to be a drag. N95 face masks come in a variety of colors so you are not limited to plain white face coverings. you could wear a mask that shows off your favorite sport or animal or choose a mask that matches .
your outfit. Look at masks as a way to express yourself!
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