Selecting a high quality respirator is more important than ever, during these unprecedented times of COVID19. We’ve taken a look at the different masks in the market, to help you to understand how to choose the right respirator mask for your protection needs.

KN95 MASK

  • Approved by the Chinese government and meet the Chinese standard for respiratory protection. They are not approved by NIOSH.
  • Not recommended for use in the Operating Theatre as earloop may cause air leakage be respirators tween the respirator and face seal (respirator fit)5.
  • KN95 masks are not approved for use in Australia or New Zealand when treating a COVID19 patient.

P2 MASK

  • Around-the-head straps, allowing for a good fit and seal to the face.
  • Filter oils which is a requirement in nonhealthcare industries (this is not a requirement in the medical space where there are no oil aerosols).
  • In Australia, AS/NZS 1716:2012 ‘Respiratory protective devices’, is the standard P2 respirators should meet.
  • Should be FDA or TGA approved for splash resistance, preferably to a Level 3 pass.
  • Should meet the face mask standards either; AS4381:2015 (Australian), ASTM F2100-11 (North American), or EN14683 (European and relevant respirator standard.

N95 MASK

  • Around-the-head straps, allowing for a good fit and seal to the face.
  • Should be FDA or TGA approved and provide splash resistance, preferable to a Level 3.
  • Approved by NIOSH, a USA based agency that tests mask designs to ensure they meet their standards, providing respiratory protection. If your N95 mask is not NIOSH approved, you won’t have the assurance the mask will provide the respiratory protection needed.
  • Should meet the face mask standards either; AS4381:2015 (Australian), ASTM F2100-11 (North American), or EN14683 (European) and relevant respirator standard.
  • With superior performance exceeding NIOSH standards, the HALYARD FLUIDSHIELD* Surgical N95 Respirator offers the highest level of respiratory and fluid protection.

DOES YOUR MASK PROVIDE A GOOD SEAL AROUND THE FACE ?

For a respirator to provide its designed protection, it is essential that an adequate face seal is achieved between the facepiece of the respirator and the face of the wearer.

Risks of not being correctly fitted or if gaps occur between the mask and wearer’s face, mean that there is a risk of breathing in infectious organisms or other airborne risks.

One way of reducing this risk, is to perform a ‘user seal check’ or ‘fit check’, EACH AND EVERY TIME, a respirator is donned.

Directions for ‘User Seal Checking” include:

  • Forcefully inhale and exhale several times. The respirator should collapse slightly when you inhale and expand when you exhale.
  • You should not feel any air leaking between your face and the respirator.
  • If the respirator does not collapse OR if air is leaking out between your face and respirator, then you have NOT achieved a good facial fit.
  • Adjust the respirator until the leakage is corrected and you are able to successfully ‘user seal check’ your respirator.

Fit tests, such as the qualitative fit test provided by Halyard, should also be performed routinely per hospital protocol. Fit tests are designed to help identify that the size and style of respirator is sui table and to ensure it is worn correctly.

Onset Health has a variety of all the mask above here https://www.onsethealth.org/ppe/

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