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If you have to wear an N95, wear it TIGHT!

If you need to be in a medical setting, like going to a hospital where you might be more exposed to viruses, you might want to wear respiratory protection like an N95.  However, many people wear them loosely (including many medical staff who are not properly trained), with plenty of gaps all around, that then defeats the purpose of wearing an N95 in the first place. 

"...researchers, from the University of Cambridge, carried out a series of different fit tests, and found that when a high-performance mask -- such as an N95, KN95 or FFP2 mask -- is not properly fitted, it performs no better than a cloth mask." (Science Daily, Feb 11, 2021)  When the N95 is worn with many gaps around the nose or cheeks or chin, air will go in and out through these gaps, instead of being forced through the filter, essentially making it no better than other loose-fitting cloth masks or surgical masks.

Luckily, for most people in everyday settings, we are not exposed to high virus loads and if we are keeping our distance from other people and making sure enclosed spaces are well-ventilated, we do not need to wear the N95.  In these low-risk settings, a very comfortable mask will suffice.  (remember to open the windows regularly to ventilate any enclosed space!) 

But if you do need to wear an N95 because of the need to go to the hospital or to any high-risk settings, make sure you read the instructions on the package of the N95, and make sure you wear it tightly sealed all around.  Often this also means tying behind your head tightly instead of behind the ears.  In most cases, the mask should be pressed against your skin to form a tight seal, such that when you remove the mask, you get a trace of the mask on your skin.  It may be uncomfortable while you're wearing it, but in a higher-risk situation, better safe than sorry!  


by SmitMask