Cloth masks are out, N95s are in. Here's what you need to know

Brooks Johnson, Star Tribune on

Published in Business News

Inside the mask is an electrostatic filter that prevents particles — including viruses, bacteria and dust — from getting through.

A properly fitted mask ensures all air is passing through that filter and not leaking around the edges, which would allow particles in and out.

How do I wear it?

Eby said a number of online resources and videos can help users properly wear respirators. One strap should be below the ears and the other on the crown of the head. The metal nose clip should be formed with two hands. Those with facial hair can't get a complete seal, 3M says.

3M's basic fit-test to check for a good seal goes like this:

"Place both hands completely over the respirator and inhale sharply. A negative pressure should be felt inside the respirator. If air leaks around nose, readjust the nose piece. If air leaks at the respirator edges, work the straps back along the sides of your head. If you cannot get a secure seal, look for another respirator model that fits you correctly."


Can I reuse it?

For daily life outside of hospitals, an N95 can be re-used so long as it doesn't get dirty or wet and maintains a proper seal.

Eby said wearers should cycle through multiple respirators throughout the week. Used masks can be placed in a paper bag for at least 72 hours.

What's with the different shapes and designs?


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