Personal protective equipment (PPE) can quickly come in handy when it comes to us protecting ourselves from suffering the consequences of inhaling or coming in contact with a contaminant – whether on the surface of an object or while airborne. Although people are well-equipped with the importance of personal protection, some are not equipped enough when it comes to donning and removing PPE. These include respirator masks, specifically particulate respirators, such as the N95 mask and the N99 mask.
There are a lot of things to look out for when you’re required to wear a respirator mask. Easy as it may seem, this protective equipment actually requires more attention to detail than you think. Without the proper attention, the equipment won’t be able to provide the protection that you expect. With that said, here is a list of do’s and don’ts for wearing these masks:
- Prior to wearing the mask, make sure that you check the condition it is in. This includes checking the mask for holes and overused or worn-out straps.
- ALWAYS wear the mask when you’re in a hospital setting. This will help you protect yourself from airborne contaminants that might cause infections or respiratory problems.
- The mask will come with the manufacturer’s guide for wearing and removing the mask. Be sure to read their guidelines to make sure you are protected.
- When you’re wearing the mask, make sure that you mold the particulate respirator on the bridge of your nose to ensure a proper fit. It also helps to press the sides of the respirator onto your face to seal any leaks.
- Be sure that your mouth and your nose are completely covered by the mask. Do a complete check of the seal for your mask after putting it on.
- When removing the mask, tilt your head forward as if you’re blowing it and start pulling the straps from the back and lower part of your neck making sure that your hands will not come into contact with the surface of the mask.
- Dispose of the mask properly and be sure to do a hand hygiene routine, such as washing your hands with soap and water or using hand sanitizer before and after wearing the particulate respirator.
- Always use a new mask. Since the particulate respirator mask is disposable, you can and should use a new one every time.
- The N95 mask is not reusable. Be sure to dispose of it after each use.
- Wearing a mask without undergoing fit testing. The mask will not be able to protect you if it has not been properly fitted.
- Wearing the mask if it is soiled or wet, even if it’s a new one.
- Allowing the respirator to hang around your neck while not in use.
- Do not touch the mask as it may be contaminated or will become contaminated.
- Sharing respirator masks with co-workers and especially strangers.
- Do not snap the straps as it will encourage the spreading of contaminants.
Being knowledgeable of the do’s and don’ts when it comes to personal protection is extremely important. It pays to do your own research when it comes to protecting yourself and your health. You’re not only protecting yourself but you’re also protecting your future by preventing yourself from contracting serious, yet preventable diseases and illnesses.
Be sure to keep yourself protected from all kinds of contaminants in your surroundings by using N95 masks or N99 masks. If you don’t have any personal protective equipment ready, you can purchase N95 masks through our website at www.bielcor.com.