Although there are several masks available in the market, which one should you use to protect yourselves against Coronavirus? Or should you be using a mask at all?

Masks helps to keep the harmful particles out of the air you breath in. Breathing in polluted air can cause kidney, liver, heart or lung problems and can even lead to cancer.

N95 Masks

N95 masks will filter out upto 95% of PM 2.5 (particulate matter) from the air that are 0.3 microns in diameter or larger. N95 masks offer 50% less air resistance compared to N99. This means you can wear it longer without feeling suffocated. People who are pregnant, aged over 60 or with impaired lung function are recommended to wear N95 masks in polluted environments.

N99 Masks

N99 masks as the name suggests will filter upto 99% particulate matter from the air that are 0.3 microns in diameter or larger.  N99 masks has a higher breathing resistance than N95 masks. Due to this it is not recommended for people respiratory or cardiac issues.

N100 Masks

N100 masks will filter out at least 99.97% of airborne particles that are 0.3 microns in diameter or larger. It is to be noted that N rated masks are not resistant against oil particles.

What all particles will a N rated mask block?

ParticleSize (microns)
Bacteria0.3 – 60
Red Blood Cells5 – 10
Mold Spores10 – 30
Asbestos0.7 – 90
Spores3 – 40

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Can N95, 99 or 100 masks block Coronavirus?

With the help of electron microscope, scientists have discovered that Coronavirus particles are around 125 nms or 0.125 microns. This means they are much smaller than what the N rated masks can filter.

Although the above statements can make you think that masks offer no protection at all, they are still better than having no protection at all. As coronavirus is not an airborne virus, they are spread by bodily fluids sprayed when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Since these particles are much bigger than the virus itself, a N95 mask, if properly worn, should be able to protect you from infection.

It is very important to ensure a proper seal when wearing the mask. Good hygiene is key in staying safe from coronavirus. You should never touch your face, eyes and nose after touching an infected surface like table, desk etc.

Most importantly, you should be prepared but shouldn’t panic, maintaining good mental health is crucial in the fight against coronavirus. Stay safe, stay healthy!