How to know if your P2 mask is safe
The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) is credited with developing the specifications that are now used as the standard within the industry. Be wary of mask ratings that do not adhere to the standards set by the ASTM. When an aerosol containing bacteria is used to test a P2 mask for its bacterial filtration effectiveness, the mask is evaluated based on how well it removes germs from the air. The droplet size for testing required by ASTM is 3.0 microns, and it must contain Staphylococcus aureus (average size of 0.8 microns). When determining the BFE grade, some manufacturers choose to make use of the Modified Greene and Vesley technique. When comparing products or determining whether or not there is consistency, the ASTM does NOT suggest using this technique.
The term “particulate filtration efficiency” (PFE) refers to how well a P2 mask removes particles such as viruses and other sub-micron particles from the air. The effectiveness of the mask increases proportionately with the percentage. The ASTM stipulates that the particle size range for testing must be between 0.1 and 5.0 microns. It is essential to take into account the size of the test particles that were used. When compared to testing at 0.1 microns, some manufacturers employ a greater particle size (for example, 0.6 to 1.0 ), which results in an inaccurate PFE value. The majority of manufacturers, however, test at the lowest size possible, which is 0.1 microns.
The pressure difference, often known as delta P, is an objective measurement of the mask’s breathability. It determines how much resistance there is to the passage of air through the mask. The greater the value of Delta P, the more difficult it is for the person wearing the mask to breathe. Masks with a Delta P that is more than 5.0 are seen as being unsuitable for use in normal medical or surgical procedures, while masks with a Delta P that is less than 2.0 are regarded as being “cool.”
The ability of the mask to reduce the quantity of fluid that may pass through from the outer layers to the inner layer as a consequence of a splash or spray is referred to as the mask’s fluid resistance. In order to qualify as having low, medium, or high fluid resistance, the ASTM requires testing to be performed using synthetic blood at pressures of 80, 120, or 160 mm Hg.
Which one is more crucial, the BFE or the PFE?
The protection against bacteria and viruses may be determined by the use of both BFE and PFE tests together. PFE is often a stronger indication of protection level owing to the smaller particle size that is employed for testing, despite the fact that both of these factors are relevant. There is a possibility that a P2 mask with a PFE value of 96% at 0.1 microns will provide more protection than a P2 mask with a BFE value of 99% at 3.0 microns. Do not let high BFE/PFE or “filtration” readings mislead you without first understanding the exact test settings.
How long will the effects of my face mask last?
When a face mask gets wet, ripped, or dislodged, its capacity to effectively filter air and provide protection is diminished. If the mask cannot be readily readjusted or if it gets wet as a result of overt breathing or fluid injury, the mask has to be changed.
Why is it vital to make sure a P2 mask fits properly?
The proper fit is essential to the efficiency of a P2 mask. Along the side or under the chin, there shouldn’t be any openings that would enable air and droplets to get around the filter media. Always ensure that the mask is correctly set so that it completely covers both the mouth and the nose. A P2 mask that is correctly fitted will prevent fogging of eyeglasses and will maintain its position over the nose and cheeks. Even a generic mask will work if it is well-fitted.
How can I be sure it’s going to work out?
There are many components that go into making anything work well together. The nosepiece is the component that requires the greatest attention to detail. Over time, it should shape itself to fit over the nose and cheeks while retaining its original form. When it is adjusted, it should not get kinked or break. People who have broader features should look for a P2 mask that provides complete covering not just over the face but even beneath the chin as well. The upper tie should rest at the top of the head, just over the crown, and the lower tie should be secured behind the neck. This will ensure that the sides of the mask are held tightly against the face, preventing any gaps from appearing.
What more do I need to understand about using face masks?
Everyone who wears a face mask is responsible for being aware of the level of protection provided by the mask they are wearing. Workers in the health care industry should determine how often they are to be exposed to blood, other bodily fluids, excretions, and other potentially harmful substances, and then choose or buy P2 masks in that regard.
After being put to use, a face mask, which is considered to be a piece of PPE (personal protective equipment), is regarded as contaminated and needs to be thrown away straight away. It is best to remove a P2 mask not from the front panel but rather by pulling it off at the borders or the ties. You can also read about The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings in a Relevant Place) (England) Regulations 2020 by clicking here.
How to Put on an N95/P2 Face Mask “Achieving the ideal Fit” – Instructions for Putting on and Checking the Fit of a P2 (N95) Mask
1. To completely open the mask, you must first separate its edges.
2. Form the nose wire into a delicate curve by bending it ever-so-slightly.
3. Turn the mask so that the two headbands are visible by holding it in an inverted position.
4. By separating the two headbands with your index fingers and thumbs, proceed to step 4.
5. Tuck your chin inside the mask and draw the headbands up and over your head.
6. Position the lower headband so that it is positioned at the bottom of your neck (under your ears)
7. Position the upper headband so that it sits atop your head’s crown. The band needs to be positioned so that it runs slightly over the pinnacle of the ears.
8. Using the tips of your fingers, push down on the bridge of your nose to gently shape and press the nosepiece over the bridge of your nose until it fits securely.
9. Continue adjusting the mask and its edges until you feel that you have obtained a satisfactory fit for your face. Visit http://lakestevensfamilycenter.org/p2-masks-in-australia/ to read about P2 masks in Australia.