Following the global outbreak of the Coronavirus, most nations, including Australia, made the wearing of masks in public places a requirement. N95 masks are classified as P2/P3 in Australia, according to the country’s laws. It is typical for the N95 mask’s virus and germ-filtering capabilities to be assessed based on the mask’s capacity to catch infections that may be conveyed via various methods, including direct contact, during testing. The protection provided by surgical masks, also known as medical masks, is insufficient compared to P2 masks. Even though we will go into further depth about the P2 in this post, we will also discuss the benefits of using alternative respiratory protection devices.
The following characteristics distinguish N95 masks:
- This is made possible by the use of textiles with high filtration rates.
- N95 masks shield the user from potentially hazardous particles, gases, and vapours, according to the manufacturer.
- This technique has the potential to filter out particles as small as 0.3 micrometres.
- According to the manufacturer, this filter can filter out particles as tiny as respiratory droplets with a 95% effectiveness rate.
- The mouth and nasal portions of the mask are very tightly suited to the user’s face.
- Because of the thin metal that makes up the nose, it possesses a high degree of imperviousness.
- The ability to take a deep breath in a comfortable manner
When it comes to masking standards, what is the P2 mask standard, and how does it work?
Manufacturers of N95 masks in Australia and those of other respiratory protection products in this category are required to adhere to a set of criteria established by the Australian government, which is separated into divisions to make the items. There are criteria for structural (protective) integrity as well as design integrity standards in place.
Occupational safety and health standards for building construction: These regulations define which materials should be used in the production of N95 masks and which particle sizes should be employed in their filtration. The most essential of these specifications is that the mask can filter out particles as small as 0.3 microns in size. Depending on the application, it is possible to manufacture the P2 mask in two ways: with or without a gusset. Even though N95 with a valve weighs a bit more than P2 without a valve, it is more pleasant to use since it facilitates breathing. It is more lightweight than the N95 mask with a gusset because the filters are encased inside the mask’s fabric. The N95’s ear loops and nose wire are tight and robust, ensuring that the device is securely attached to the user’s face throughout use.
A surgical mask, often known as a medical mask, offers the best protection.
In the wake of the Covid-19 epidemic, one intriguing issue has arisen: which mask is the most effective in protecting against the virus? Many people compare and contrast medical masks, such as N95 respirators or surgical masks, all the time. If you’re talking about medical masks, you’re more likely referring to surgical masks, which are more common. Such equipment is designed to prevent the transfer of viruses and germs from the user to others. They provide less protection and have a lower particle blocking rate than respirators, which means that they are insufficiently protective for the user. Using an N95 respirator mask when exposed to particle pollution in the air or liquid, research has shown that the mask prevents 95 per cent of viruses and bacteria with an outer diameter of 0.3 millimetres or less. Because of this, an N95 or P2/P3 respirator offers superior protection when compared to a surgical face mask.
N95 (P2/P3) masks have a somewhat limited shelf life of just a few months.
Even though N95 masks are often assumed to be non-disposable and may be worn forever, this is not always the case. P2 masks are disposed of in the same way as other surgical masks are disposed of. The filtering portion of these masks is constructed entirely of non-toxic paper. Physical damage may occur to filters when they get damp, sweat or are used for extended periods. This physical degradation can result in a reduction in the rate at which they filter impurities. In the opinion of medical authorities, N95 masks should only be worn once in a person’s lifetime at the most.
AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT DIRECTIVES FOR THE DISPOSITION OF A N95 MASK IN THE WORKPLACE.
Unless they are diseased, Masks should be disposed of in the garbage, preferably in a well-sealed container. Bins with a tight-fitting cover are referred to as closed bins. Mask disposal should occur in an enclosed container that does not need human interaction to dump a potentially contaminated mask into it. Using a foot pedal or other hands-free technology to open the bin’s lid would be excellent in terms of ease. Two bin liners should be included in the bin for contaminated masks to ensure that the rubbish is properly disposed of. With the use of two trash bags, the danger of contamination for the person disposing of the rubbish significantly decreases.
It is considered contaminated if any of the following circumstances are present on the mask: it has been worn by an infected worker or visitor to the workplace, or it has been worn by close contact of an infected person, or it is unclean or moist. When a closed container is not available, a sealed bag (e.g., a zip lock bag) should be used to dispose of infected masks. Double bagging is defined as using a sealed bag in conjunction with a single bin liner in a single container. Following the removal and disposal of your mask, ensure that you practise proper hand hygiene.