The demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) has been on a steady rise ever since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. With the disease affecting one person after another, the need to use personal protective equipment has been strongly emphasized by experts from CDC and WHO.
These personal protective equipment were primarily designed to protect workers of different fields from any serious injuries from contact with hazardous and pathogenic chemicals and substances. PPE’s vary from one profession to the other so, it can be the same or different depending on the nature of your job.
In a clinical setting, PPE’s are usually used to eliminate or minimize the risk of hazard or the spread of disease. Some of the most commonly used PPE include gloves, face shields, laboratory gowns and masks.
With the recent pandemic infecting people through inhalation of water droplets, the importance of wearing face masks has been strongly reiterated and encouraged. To combat this virus, a special type of mask is needed to prevent it from entering your body, and this is the N95 grade mask.
Countries have been mass producing PPE’s, most specifically N95 masks in order to break the chain of infection. Some countries have also gone as far as to name the masks KN95, CN95, and many more. If you want to know more about them, read on to find out.
What is a CN95 Respirator?
An N95 respirator mask is the most common type out of the seven types of face mask/respirator available. It’s called N95 because of its ability to filter out 95% of airborne particulates, which is why it is the mask of choice for people today amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.
A CN95 respirator on the other hand, is a Canadian-made N95 mask. It offers the same properties with the universal N95 and also shares its drawback of not being resistant to oil-based particles.
Oil-based particles are not good for the CN95 mask since it can penetrate through the filters and enter the human body. The Cn95 respirator mask is packed with a lot of features that can be beneficial to its user. Here are just some of its amazing features:
- Anti-clogging (NR D) – This mask is known to be resistant to clogging even after being exposed to an environment that has a lot of dust.
- Tough Shell Shape – It’s sturdy structure prevents it from collapsing or losing its shape.
- Nose Liner – This provides a comfortable fit to the face and prevents leakage of air from the edges.
- Aluminum Nose Clip – This feature also prevents leakage as well as eyewear fogging.
- Convex Seam Style – This prevents structure collapse as well as the maintenance of the high integrity of the filter media.
- Activated Carbon – This absorbs foul odors and vapor from the environment, ensuring that the air breathed in through the mask is free from these pollutants.
- Latex Free Textile Elastic – This makes the elastic durable and friendly to the skin since it reduces the risks of skin allergies. It can also withstand high temperatures and will not deform through continuous usage.
- Stay Cool Butterfly Vent Valve – This provides breathing comfort and reduces the heat build-up within the mask.
These are just some of the features of the CN95 mask, and there are still more that you can check out from their website, Venus OHS.
Extending The Use Of Respirators
Extended use refers to using the same respirator mask several times when in close contact with people without removing the mask in between interactions.This act has been recommended as an option to conserve respirator masks during this time of crisis in the Covid-19 pandemic.
Since N95 respirator mask stocks are expected to be depleted while the pandemic is still ongoing, conserving stocks will become the best option to make sure that there is enough to withstand the ongoing pandemic.
The guidelines and policies for its extended use widely depends on the institution. Since there are many factors to consider (i.e., route of transmission, severity of the disease, prevalence of the disease in a specific region, rate of the attack of the infection), the number of days or hours it can be extended for usage will vary.
However, extended use is more preferred than reuse because it reduces the risks of contact infection since the user will not repetitively touch the respirator mask. CDC recommends that in a clinical setting, after using the respirator mask continuously or intermittently for 8 hours, it must be disposed of.
To reduce the risk of soiling the masks, you can opt to wear a face shield. To know more about the risks of extended use and reuse of respirator masks, you can check out the guidelines made by CDC on their website.
On the other hand, for non-healthcare workers, the extended use of respirator masks will greatly depend on hygiene concerns or practical considerations and not on a predetermined duration of the number of hours.
Recommended Methods To Sterilize CN95 Masks
CDC and respirator mask manufacturers have conducted studies on how to properly decontaminate respirator masks for the purpose of reuseage. Some of its general principles may include the following:
- The mask’s fit must not be compromised.
- Its electrostatic charge as well as the filtration capacity must be preserved.
- The method must be sufficient enough to inactivate the viral load that is present on the mask.
- The mask must absolutely not be soiled with any substance.
Due to the severity of the Covid-19 pandemic, studies on how to sterilize and decontaminate masks have been expedited. Furthermore, these studies have been found to produce promising outcomes.
However, since there are many versions of the N95 respirator mask, one method might work for one version but not with the other versions.
For this treatment type, home UV systems are not recommended since they require precision and compliance with the policies and guidelines. To ensure the success of the treatment, you will need to follow specific dosing protocols as well as illumination of the full surface area.
Dry heat is more recommended than moist heat because it can adequately kill the virus while also preserving the integrity of the filter for reuse. This method can be done by exposing the mask at a temperature of 70℃ for 30 minutes.