Frequently Asked Questions & Important Resources

What are NIOSH Certified N95 Face Masks?

N95 mask is a form of respiratory protective wear which is worn over the nose and mouth to minimize the chance of inhaling airborne particles, bacteria, and viruses such as COVID-19. The N95 face mask is non-woven, and disposable of synthetic polymer fibers produced in a process called melt blowing. During the melt blowing process, the inner layer of the N95 mask is created which forms the filtration layer that filters at least 95% of airborne particles.

All respirators used in healthcare settings must be approved by NIOSH and are thoroughly evaluated and tested by NIOSH to meet strict federal safety requirements. To receive NIOSH approval, respirators must adhere to established standards of quality and performance. Only then will NIOSH authorize a respirator manufacturer to use the NIOSH name in block letters or a NIOSH logo. Manufacturers must have and maintain an established quality program that ensures that their products meet the NIOSH requirements.

Markings on a NIOSH-approved filtering facepiece respirator may appear on the facepiece itself or on the straps. If a filtering face-piece respirator has approval markings, but is not on the NIOSH table of approved filtering face-piece respirators, it is likely to be either a counterfeit product or a respirator that has had its certification revoked or rescinded by NIOSH.


What are the different mask levels? How much protection does each offer? Which one should I get for my needs?

ASTM International (American Society for Testing and Materials), develops a range of consensus standards that are adopted and used globally across industries. The standards created by ASTM are designed to enhance safety and improve the quality of consumer and industrial products. 

When you hear someone referring to "Level 1" or "Level 2" masks, they are referring to the ASTM standards. They are based on BFE, PFE, fluid resistance, breathability, and flame spread. 


How to use face masks correctly?

Disposable face masks are designed to protect the wearer from inhaling and spreading dangerous bacteria. There are multiple types of face masks available to purchase, each offering varying degrees of protection. Face masks only work, however when they are worn correctly and disposed of responsibly.

  1. Before wearing your face mask,  it is important to wash your hands with soap and water before touching the mask. Wash your hands for about 30 seconds lathering soap evenly over your whole hand.
  2. Once your hands are clean, dry your hands with a disposable paper towel.
  3. Remove the medical face mask from the box/packaging.
  4. Inspect the mouth mask for tears or small holes or signs of tearing or wear.
  5. Hold the face mask with the stiff edge pointing toward your forehead. This stiff edge contains an adjustable nose piece that can shape to fit comfortably over the bridge of your nose, completely covering both your nose and mouth.
  6. If your surgical mask has ear loops then loop them over your ears, ensuring that your face is covered completely. Each breath should be drawn through the cloth face coverings so if you can breathe through the side of your mask then it may need to be replaced with a smaller fit before entering a public setting.

Please note if you have facial hair, ensure that the mask sits firmly against your face and there are no gaps around the mask which you may inhale unfiltered air.

When you buy masks to help protect you and your family from spreading dangerous germs, you’re taking a positive step in the fight against transmission of illnesses. To maximize your protection, practice wearing a face mask with regularly washing your hands with warm water and soap, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% ethanol content and maintaining social distancing.


How long can you wear a face mask?

Disposable masks or surgical masks should not be worn longer than a few hours and never be reused after they have been worn. If you must remove your respiration mask, do not reapply it. Disposable of the surgical mask, wash your hands again and apply a new mask.

Most N95 face masks can be worn up to 8 hours but ensure you check the manufacturers instructions for more specific details on how long you can wear it. A general rule of thumb is that if the inner lining of the face mask becomes moist, then it is time to replace your face mask. Dispose the worn face mask in the trash safety and wash your hands thoroughly with soap or hand sanitizer after use.


KN95 VS N95 Face respirators?

Filtering facepiece respirators (FFR) are sometimes called disposable face masks and are subject to various regulatory standards around the world. These standards specify certain required physical properties and performance characteristics in order to claim compliance with a particular standard. During pandemic or emergency situations, health authorities often reference these standards when making recommendations for face masks. For example stating certain populations should use a KN95, N95 or equivalent respirator. The below table shows KN95 face masks and N95 facce masks function are very similar to one another.

Based on the above comparison, it is reasonable to consider KN95 as equivalent to N95 for filtering non-oil based particles such as those resulting from wildfires, PM 2.5 air pollution, viruses, volcanic eruptions, or bioaerosols.


Which type of mask do I need? How to choose the perfect Face mask?

Here is a quick guide to help you decide which kind of face mask suits your needs. 


Should I wear a face mask to protect myself from COVID-19?

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), it is recommended that people wear face mask coverings in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.

Facemasks may help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus to others.

Face masks are most likely to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when they are widely used by people in public settings

Facemasks should not be worn by children under the age of 2 or anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. A facemask is not a subsitute for social distancing.


How NAV PPE Supply an help you?

It is critical that medical workers and healthcare professionals follow the guidelines set out by the CDC and to ensure getting proper protection at their facilities. 

For our part, NAV PPE Supply will continue to publish helpful resources on our website. Our number 1 goal, regardless of circumstance, is to keep workers safe.


Have a questions?

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