All you need to know about N95 masks

Here is some useful information about the N95 mask. This respirator is highly recommended for health workers as it provides optimal protection against airborne particles. Other respirators are available on the market but let’s focus on the N95 mask. 


What is an N95 mask? 

The N95 mask is NIOSH-certified and designed to offer respiratory protection for those who wear it. The “95” indicates its efficiency rate, which means that the respirator filters out 95% of non-oily particles in the air. It blocks very small particles (>0.3 microns), including droplets containing the coronavirus. This respirator is fluid-resistant and typically non-reusable.  

The “N” means “not resistant to oil”, and “95” is the efficiency rate. 


How to wear it? 

The fit is very important, as a close facial seal is required to attain protection. It is necessary that the mask covers the mouth and nose. It is also recommended that men shave their face for better protection – you’ll even find this requirement in the user instructions. A fit test and user seal check must be performed before the respirator is worn. 


Am I protected against particles and droplets? 

N95 masks are designed to provide a filtration rate of at least 95% against liquid and non-oily particles, including droplets. 


Can I breathe normally with a disposable respirator? 

Yes, it allows the passage of oxygen efficiently. Breathability is a requirement when respirators go through regulatory approval. Respirator masks will allow you to breathe easily enough to perform your daily tasks, and communicate with those around you.


How long can I wear an N95 respirator? 

N95 masks typically have a short lifespan, so it is recommended that you change your mask every 4 hours to maintain maximum efficiency. In addition, if the mask is damaged or broken, it must be replaced it immediately. 


How often can I wear a respirator mask? 

N95 masks are generally disposable, single-use masks. For most N95 respirators, they should not be worn more than once. Always read and follow the user instructions to ensure you’re using or reusing the mask correctly.