Is a Respirator Better than an N95?

Respirator versus N95

Respirator is a personal protective equipment designed to protect the wearers by filtering out particles in the air they breathe. Respirators are now rampantly used ever since the COVID19 pandemic started. Respirators are very demanding because they give a different level of protection than the usual surgical mask does. Because of this, the demand for respirators in the market is now very high. There was even a shortage of supply during the first few months of the pandemic because face masks’ production was minimal back then.

This kind of device is primarily meant to be worn on the face, mainly covering the nose and mouth. It is worn to reduce the risk of inhaling particles in the air that would cause harm to the body. Air particles that are filtered mainly by a respirator are hazardous airborne particles that cause infections, gases, and vapor. 

This device is designed to protect the wearer in two primary ways. The first one is removing the contaminants in the air; this type of respirator is called an air-purifying respirator (APR). This type of respirator includes the “particulate respirators” that the wearer often uses to filter out airborne particles and a “gas mask” designed to protect the wearer by filtering out chemicals and gases. Another respirator’s protection is by supplying air; these are called Air-Supplying Respirators (ASR). Air-Supplying Respirators include airline respirators and a Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCUBA).

Air-Purifying Respirators

Filters and Filter cartilage are used in this kind of respirator. These filters prevent the wearer from inhaling dangerous substances present in the air letting the wearer breathe cleaner air. AIr-Purifying Respirators vary in their types – disposable, half face, and full-face air-purifying respirators. These types of respirator vary in their coverage and the kind of air protection it gives. 

The most common air-purifying respirators now are disposable respirators. This kind of respirator gives the essential protection necessary for combating viruses such as COVID19; this is way cheaper and easier to find respirators than the half-face and full-face respirators. 

Although this only gives the essential protection, it does not necessarily mean that it is not worth having. The National Institute approves this kind of respirator for Occupational Safety & Health. It just means that it can undeniably provide the standard of protection the NIOSH has recommended, making it a perfect personal protective equipment for healthcare workers and ordinary masses well. 

How To Make Sure That A Respirator Fits Tightly

Respirators are designed to have a tight seal around the wearer’s face. Because of this, the customer must conduct a “Seal Check” first to know the best fit suitable for you.

Cartridge Respirator 

If you are to use a cartridge respirator, you should check first if any leaks are coming. To check for leaks, you have to do the inspection when inhaling and exhaling. 

In checking leaks during exhalation, covering the exhalation port with a palm and exhaling more strongly than usual will do the trick. This kind of technique will help identify if there is air escaping through the respirator. But If you exhale strongly and you feel a slight bulge in the respirator, plus if air does not escape the respirator, then it fits perfectly for you. 

To check leaks during inhalation, cover the filter cartridge with the palm of your hands and inhale more strongly than usual. If you feel that the mask collapses as soon as you inhale strongly and do not feel any air entering through the mask, it perfectly fits you.

Disposable N95 Respirator

To know if the N95 respirator such as N95 L-188 fits onto your face, cover the mask firmly using the palms of your hand. While covering the mask, inhale and exhale more strongly than usual and mind the air that enters and exits the mask. If the N95 respirator perfectly fits you, there should be no airflow in and out around the edges of the respirator. 

Differences Between Respirator and N95

Differentiating between a respirator and N95 is something that would not have a definite answer. N95 is a type of respirator; it functions as a respirator that varies from the different respirators available. N95 is disposable and cheaper than the others, making it a little inferior to the other type of respirators. Compared to the other types of air-purifying respirators, N95 is the most convenient to use and way cheaper than the two, making it also better at some point.

However, benefits should be weighed by the consumer. As a consumer, you will have the power to know what type of respirator would benefit you more personally. Aside from that, there are also other factors that a consumer should take into consideration before purchasing any personal protective equipment. Nonetheless, no matter what you choose from any of the types of respirators available, it will all surely give the kind of protection you very well deserve.