Those masks you bought during the Taal volcano eruption are going to come in handy against the Coronavirus.
While the N95 respirator face masks are capable of protecting wearers from airborne particles, ordinary surgical masks are acceptable and allows easier breathing. They act as barriers to protect wearers from splashes of saliva and mucus from coughs and sneezes.
You might encounter different types of respirators while looking at respirators for future emergencies. The most important ones you might need, in defense against particles such as viruses and ashfalls would be the N-series masks. The numbers beside them are filtration percentages. So, N95 means it can filter 95% of particles under “worse case scenarios.” Therefore, N99 and N100 respirators will offer the highest particle filtration rate.
There are also R and P series respirators, which functions exactly the same as the N series with the only difference is their resistance to oil-based particles. Oil-based particles are solvents or pesticides. R type face masks are resistant to oil-based particles while P types are oil-proof.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for extended use of disposable N95 respirators, it’s recommended to touch the mask as less as possible. This will prevent potential contamination of the mask. Make sure the mask doesn’t get wet or deformed, as its effectiveness will deteriorate. Depending on how hazardous the environment is, a standard N95 can last up to eight hours.
Reusable respirators are those sophisticated-looking masks. They’re reusable because they have replaceable cartridges to filter out particulates. They’re designed for multi-hazard environments, which basically combines different filtration needs. Though these may sound appealing to obtain, they are expensive, while ordinary N95 or N99 respirators would suffice for the job.
In times like these, it pays to be cautious and be fully informed.