History & Manufacturing
In 1994, the centre for disease control (CDC) firstly advised the use of respirators for all healthcare workers potentially exposed to airborne infections (5). N95 were introduced shortly thereafter as respiratory protection devices (RPDs). N stands for oil nonresistant and 95, indicates 95% filtering efficiency for median size particles of 0.3 micrometer (4). Contrary to surgical masks which are designed to protect the environment from the wearer, N95 respirators protect the wearer from the surrounding environment (1). It is therefore critical for respirators to have tight facial sealing. (3, 1).
The efficiency of N95 respirators is tested by evaluating the performance of the filtering media under constant airflow (2). This is however not an accurate representation of the natural breathing flow which may be cyclic (2).
Fit testing following qualitative and quantitative measures are necessary, as they measure the penetration of aerosol through the filtering media as well as seal leaks. The one size fits all approach does not apply to this type of RPDs as facial tight sealing is critical to ensure protection (4). The latest research designs are thus focused on improving facial fit rather than the filtering media (2).
N95 respirators are manufactured as single use devices, however in case of emergency or shortage these may be reused following strict decontamination practices as advised by the manufacturer (4).
Why is N95 respirator the preferred medical choice in high-risk environments?
Healthcare workers operating in high risk settings are more susceptible to infection during pandemics. The implementation of strong infection control practices and the correct use of personal protective equipment (PPE) proved to significantly reduce infection transmission during the previous severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) pandemic. Similar training and regulations can thus reduce and prevent infection from the current SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) (3). To prevent N95 depletion during the ongoing pandemic, it is necessary to educate the public about high and low risk exposure situations and implement the wearing of PPE only when strictly necessary. Clear communication among first-line responders and infection prevention and control regulatory bodies is necessary to prevent lack of RPDs availability for personnel in high risk environments and the consequent outsourcing from non certified manufacturers (3).
Basic understanding of viral transmission, particle size and dispersion are critical to guide personnel towards the right choice of PPE. Droplets generated by aerosolized medical procedures significantly differ from those produced naturally by the mechanism of speaking, breathing and coughing (3). Water and mucus present within respiratory secretions act as vessels for viral particle propagation, the risk of transmission is determined by the total concentration of viral particles in secretions over the total volume of secretion to which medical personnel are exposed; patients suffering from respiratory illness tend to secrete larger size particles.
N95 respirators are currently used for airborne droplet contact precaution situations together with other PPE of choice. Respirators should be put on first so that they can come off last (3).
Overall, N95 respirators offer additional protection from fluid penetration (4) and are more efficient at reducing laboratory confirmed bacterial colonization compared to surgical masks (1).
Our high filtration facial KN95 masks will keep you and those your care about safe in high-risk environments. Trusted by health care workers around the world, our FFP2/N95 equivalent masks are guaranteed to protect you from airborne particles of bacteria, viruses and other pathogens. Also useful to filter out dust and PM2.5 particulates in high pollution areas, our masks keep out over 95% of all non-oily airborne particles.
Comfortable fitting with nose clip for a proper seal, you will feel safe and protected while still being able to breath easily. FFP respirators provide about 11.5 to 15.9 times better protection than Surgical Masks. The team here at Medi Supply Warehouse all use KN95 masks when in high risk situations and we recommend them for use in high exposure situations such as in hospitals, medical clinics, for those working in customer service, staff in schools, on aeroplanes, in homes for the elderly etc.
For a quote on wholesale KN95 face masks, fill in our contact form and get in touch with one of our friendly customer service team today.
Click Here for References
- Long Y, Hu T, Liu L, et al. Effectiveness of N95 respirators versus surgical masks against influenza: A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Evid Based Med. 2020;13(2):93-101. doi:10.1111/jebm.12381
- Grinshpun SA, Haruta H, Eninger RM, Reponen T, McKay RT, Lee SA. Performance of an N95 filtering facepiece particulate respirator and a surgical mask during human breathing: two pathways for particle penetration. J Occup Environ Hyg. 2009;6(10):593-603. doi:10.1080/15459620903120086
- Lockhart SL, Duggan LV, Wax RS, Saad S, Grocott HP. Personal protective equipment (PPE) for both anesthesiologists and other airway managers: principles and practice during the COVID-19 pandemic [published online ahead of print, 2020 Apr 23]. Équipements de protection individuelle (EPI) pour anesthésiologistes et autre personnel en charge des voies aériennes: principes et pratiques pendant la pandémie de COVID-19 [published online ahead of print, 2020 Apr 23]. Can J Anaesth. 2020;1-11. doi:10.1007/s12630-020-01673-w
- Umer F, Haji Z, Zafar K. Role of respirators in controlling the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) amongst dental healthcare providers: a review [published online ahead of print, 2020 May 1]. Int Endod J. 2020;10.1111/iej.13313. doi:10.1111/iej.13313
- Bessesen MT, Savor-Price C, Simberkoff M, Reich NG, Pavia AT, Radonovich LJ. N95 respirators or surgical masks to protect healthcare workers against respiratory infections: are we there yet?. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2013;187(9):904-905. doi:10.1164/rccm.201303-0581ED