The rise in demand for masks has forced our factories to come up with different face masks. Face mask fall between two categories; single-use and reusable face masks. In our case, we are going to look at the N95 mask. The name comes from the N95 Reusable Mask Material, which is considered one of the best materials to use in a face mask. The N95 material works extraordinarily; perhaps that’s why it is incredibly efficient.
The filter material used in the N95 mask is designed with a filtration ability of not less than 95% when working with particles of about 0.3µm. Nanoparticles move by Brownian motion, and the N95 mask filters use mechanical and Electrostatic forces to filter out these particles. The outside of the mask is mainly made of hydrophobic polypropylene. These attributes allow reuse, extended use, and decontamination.
How extended use works
Studies have shown that continuous use of an N95 mask can go for up to 8 hours. By this time, your mask has picked up several particles, and it might also be wet. Viruses thrive well in moist conditions; thus, it is advisable to take your mask off after 8 hours of continuous use. To minimize soiling, it would be best for you if you wear a shield. Wearing a face shield will prevent dust particles and other aerosols from reaching your mask.
Most N95 masks are reusable, while they have this attribute, there are specific parameters we should put into mind when implementing this strategy. Medics are specialists argue that waiting for at least 72hours before you reuse your mask is enough to deactivate any viruses present on the mask. However, reusing a mask over a long period reduces the efficiency of the mask. Since the materials used to make masks are prone to wear and tear, you are advised not to exceed five cycles.
Decontamination, or in other words reprocessing, is still undergoing studies. A decontamination process should meet the following requirements;
- Efficient removal of viral particles on the mask
- Minimal soiling
- The filtration ability should be maintained
- Original fitness should be maintained
How does decontamination work?
This strategy uses Hydrogen Peroxide vapor to deactivate any viruses present on the mask. This method is still under study, but some facilities are already implementing this method. The result is quite promising, where some hospitals use masks for two cycles.
Uv light used with some parameters can effectively deactivate viruses present in the mask material. Home Uv light may not have the necessary power to perform the task, so it is not recommended.
Other methods like Moist heating with temperature ranging from 60o-70o and 80-85 relative humidity are still under study. Dry heating for 30 minutes is a viable option, but your mask’s integrity is lost fast.
When using an N95 mask, you are advised to practice tidiness when wearing. By doing so, you will be minimizing instances of soiling. The N95 Reusable Mask Material guarantees you protection from viral aerosols and particles.