What is an N95 mask?

Fact Checked

An N95 mask is best described as a plain white-colored mask that is usually worn by individuals in urban areas. Due to the increasing threat of pandemic diseases such as swine or avian flu, a N95 mask is gaining popularity among the masses.

An N95 mask is usually plain in appearance and white in color in a circle form with elastic straps that fit around the ears and a strip of metal to conform to the shape of the nose. The exterior part of this mask is usually made out of coarse cotton and porous paper while the central layer of the mask is made out of latex.

Function of N95 masks

N95 masks have been considered by the CDC as an effective tool in order to reduce the risk of contracting airborne diseases. Due to the increasing cases of flu all over the world, utilizing these masks can greatly reduce the number of these cases. These illnesses are mainly spread by microscopic droplets given out by infected individuals when they breathe or sneeze.

By using the N95 mask, it minimizes the chances of a healthy individual from breathing in these airborne droplets by creating a barrier in which bacteria as small as a micron in diameter could not pass through. It simply means that these masks serve as a barrier against airborne diseases.

N95 mask
Due to the increasing cases of flu all over the world, utilizing these masks can greatly reduce the number of these cases.

Common misconceptions

Many still believe that any mask that looks similar to an N95 mask can provide the same protection. Understandably, this is not true. Dust masks that are used in construction sites look similar to the N95 mask. There are even similar masks that are simply labelled incorrectly as N95 masks. Nevertheless, these masks do not have the latex membrane that prevents airborne particles from passing through.

Possible dangers

The common misconception regarding the danger of using this mask is that some use it incorrectly while out in the public with a false sense of security. Due to this, they put their health at risk since do not have protection from airborne pathogens. If you want to learn more about airborne diseases, click here.

Controversy regarding N95 masks

Until today, there is a great deal of controversy on the N95 masks. A lot of individuals believe that these masks are useless in preventing the spread of airborne diseases. In some cases, this notion is true. It is important to note that airborne pathogens are also proficient of infiltrating the body at any of the mucous membranes, not only through the nose and the mouth. Obviously, this includes the ears and the eyes. It simply means that even if the N95 mask can protect some of the mucous membranes, it does not cover all of them. Additionally, these masks are not airtight once fitted around the nose and mouth, thus airborne pathogens can still pass through the seals around the face rather than get trapped in the material of the mask.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The information posted on this page is for educational purposes only.
If you need medical advice or help with a diagnosis contact a medical professional

  • All firstaidcprvictoria.ca content is reviewed by a medical professional and / sourced to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

  • We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable websites, academic research institutions and medical articles.

  • If you feel that any of our content is inaccurate, out-of-date, or otherwise questionable, please contact us through our contact us page.