What are N95 Masks and are They Definitely Needed

by Summer Zhou

The outbreak of this new strain of coronavirus has brought to light the importance of protecting ourselves against illness. Wearing masks is by far one of the most effective precautions. However, not everyone understands the difference between the efficacy of cotton face masks, disposable masks (such as medical-surgical masks), and N95 respirators in protecting ourselves against airborne viruses.

Source: https://www.skysper.com/products/2019-latest-dust-mask-n95-tech-with-replaceable-filters

To protect yourself against this strain of coronavirus, the optimal choice is the N95 respirator, which can effectively prevent respiratory tract infection. An N95 respirator is designed to fit very closely to your face, one of nine kinds of particle respirators certified by NIOSH (National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health). The “N” in N95 represents the type of harmful particle that the respirator filters out. The “95” represents that under the detection conditions specified in the NIOSH (National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health) standard, the filtration efficiency reaches 95%. The most significant characteristic of the N95 respirator is that it can prevent lung infection caused by airborne droplets of bodily fluids, which can be 1 to 5 microns in diameter.

Source: https://www.amazon.com/TM-Particulate-Respirator-8210V/dp/B075782N7K?th=1

In fact, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) requires medical workers exposed to TB bacteria to wear masks above N95 standard. Common misunderstandings of masks come from their titles. It is important to know that N95 is not a brand, but the name for this type of breathing apparatus that has the functions described above. However, because the prices of N95 respirators are skyrocketing due to high demand (especially in China), they are temporarily sold out. So, we have to ask ourselves: do we have to wear N95 respirators?


Although N95 respirators are one of the more effective options, wearing general surgical masks is also sufficient, as these viruses generally don’t exist alone but often exist in droplets, which are effectively blocked by general surgical masks. If you go to public places exposed to the open air and do not have direct contact with patients, you can choose to wear medical surgical masks; however, for doctors who will be in direct contact with patients diagnosed with a respiratory infection, wearing N95 respirators is necessary.

1:  “Masks and N95 Respirators,” US Food & Drug administrations, accessed February 19, 2020, https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/personal-protective-equipment-infection-control/masks-and-n95-respirators#s3

2: “一定要买N95口罩才行?如何戴口罩?买不到口罩如何预防感染?一文告诉你” [Do you have to buy N95 mask? How to wear a mask? How to prevent infection if you can’t buy a mask?], Zhihu, last modified January 21, 2020, accessed February 19, 2020, https://zhuanlan.zhihu.com/p/103680936?utm_source=wechat_session&utm_medium=social&utm_oi=1010561446861799424. 

3: “一定要买N95口罩才行?如何戴口罩?买不到口罩如何预防感染?一文告诉你” [Do you have to buy N95 mask? How to wear a mask? How to prevent infection if you can’t buy a mask?], Zhihu, last modified January 21, 2020, accessed February 19, 2020, https://zhuanlan.zhihu.com/p/103680936?utm_source=wechat_session&utm_medium=social&utm_oi=1010561446861799424.

13 thoughts on “What are N95 Masks and are They Definitely Needed”

  1. Long time supporter, and thought I’d drop a comment.

    Your wordpress site is very sleek – hope you don’t mind me asking what theme you’re
    using? (and don’t mind if I steal it? :P)

    I just launched my site –also built in wordpress like yours– but the theme slows (!) the site
    down quite a bit.

    In case you have a minute, you can find it by searching for “royal cbd”
    on Google (would appreciate any feedback) – it’s still
    in the works.

    Keep up the good work– and hope you all take care of yourself
    during the coronavirus scare!


  2. Attractive section of content. I just stumbled upon your weblog and in accession capital to assert that I get actually enjoyed account your
    blog posts. Anyway I’ll be subscribing to your feeds and even I achievement you
    access consistently fast.

  3. I got this site from my pal who shared with me regarding this site and at the moment this time I am
    browsing this web site and reading very informative articles at this place.

  4. I am sure this piece of writing has touched all the internet visitors,
    its really really good article on building up new website.

  5. Hi there I am so happy I found your website, I really found you by accident, while I was
    researching on Aol for something else, Anyways I am here now and would
    just like to say cheers for a marvelous post and a all round interesting blog (I also love the theme/design), I
    don’t have time to read through it all at the minute
    but I have book-marked it and also added in your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read a lot more,
    Please do keep up the excellent job.

  6. I’ve been exploring for a little bit for any high-quality articles or blog posts in this sort of space
    . Exploring in Yahoo I at last stumbled upon this site. Reading this info
    So i’m happy to exhibit that I have an incredibly just right uncanny feeling I discovered just what I
    needed. I so much definitely will make sure to do not put out of your
    mind this site and give it a look regularly.

  7. Hi there! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to
    give a quick shout out and tell you I really enjoy reading your blog posts.

    Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that go over the same topics?

  8. I’m really impressed together with your writing abilities and also with the
    structure for your weblog. Is this a paid subject matter or did you customize it yourself?
    Either way keep up the excellent high quality writing,
    it is rare to peer a nice blog like this one today..

  9. Does your site have a contact page? I’m having a tough time locating it but,
    I’d like to send you an email. I’ve got some recommendations for your blog you might be interested in hearing.
    Either way, great website and I look forward to seeing it improve over time.

    Feel free to visit my website https://www.sesao19.go.th

  10. I got this website from my buddy who told me concerning this website and at the moment this time
    I am browsing this site and reading very informative articles at this

    Feel free to visit my blog – Dannielle

Comments are closed.