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N95 mask vs 3 ply

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In the world’s battle against COVID-19, the N95 mask and the 3 ply mask are two of the most popular personal protective equipment that people use.

Are both capable of protecting the human race? Is one better than the other? Or better yet, can they both help protect the world against airborne viruses like COVID-19?

What’s an N95 mask and what can it do?

An N95 mask is a safety device that covers the nose and mouth and it helps protect the user from breathing in some hazardous substances. An N95 mask protects you from breathing in small particles in the air such as dust, mold, and against harmful particulates.

It has at least 95% filtration efficiency against solid and liquid aerosols that do not contain oil. They are approved by NIOSH as to their respiratory protection efficiency and resistance and other NIOSH requirements. 

It is also cleared by the FDA separately as a medical device. The N95 mask should be worn properly and snugly on the face. In this way, it will greatly reduce the number of small particles that will enter the wearer’s respiratory system.

There are also N95 masks that come with 95 percent to 99.97 percent filter efficiency. An N95 mask should have a tight seal over the mouth and nose to work 100% effectively.

You’re assured of its filtering 95 percent of particles with a mass median diameter of 0.3 micrometers if it’s properly fitted on your face.

How about a 3 ply mask and what can it do?

3 ply masks are cleared by the FDA and the manufacturer performs and submits the results from several tests, including particle filtration efficiency, bacterial filter efficiency, fluid resistance, etc. They are not NIOSH-approved.

A 3ply mask has 3 layers of protection and can guarantee at least 80% or more particulate filter efficiency. The most important thing about a 3 ply mask is that it’s not designed to pass a fit test. Its main purpose is to help protect the environment and other nearby persons from the user's contaminants. 

The three-ply mask has a melt-blown material placed between the non-woven fabric. The melt-blown material acts as the filter that stops microbes from entering or exiting this mask.

It also works both ways. To protect the user and to reduce the spread of germs, viruses, and bacteria.

You just need to choose a 3 ply mask that fits you well since there could be gaps around your face that might allow the small particles to enter your respiratory system.

It will also help protect the user against exposure to microorganisms, body fluids, and large particles in the air so have one with a good fitting on you to avoid inward leakage for particles and organisms since most come in one size fits all.

After Thoughts

The N95 mask is the only mask approved to be effective against harmful small particulates.

On the other end, a face mask that has at least 3 ply is recommended to be able to also protect you against microbes from entering or exiting your mask.

At the end of the day, it’s a big relief that there are N95 masks and 3 ply masks to both help the human race in combatting the deadly viruses in our environment.

You can find N95 masks and 3 ply mask on Amazon.


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