Government’s statement on N95 Valved Masks
On 20th July 2020, Dr. Rajiv Garg, Director-General of Health Services, released a statement raising concerns about the inappropriate use of N95 Masks WITH VALVES. (See image above)
“It is to bring to your knowledge that the use of valved respirator N95 masks is detrimental to the measures adopted for preventing the spread of coronavirus as it doesn’t prevent the virus from escaping out of the mask,” the Director-General, Dr. Rajiv Garg, wrote in a letter to states and union territories.
The concern was regarding the valve on the N95 mask that allows exhaled air to flow out of the person’s mouth, unfiltered.
This protects whoever is wearing the mask, but not the people around that person.
Difference between N95 with Valve and Without Valve
Both N95 masks feature 5 layers of protection with varying GSM (grams per square meter) with a 95% efficiency in filtering out airborne bacteria & particulate matter.
They also form a tight seal around the nose and mouth, without any gaps for air to go in without being filtered.
N95 masks fall in the FFP2 category, which has a filter capacity of 95% in N95 masks.
Note: Filter Capacity (removes x% of all particles that are 0.3 microns in diameter or larger)
N95 mask with valve
The valve is a small plastic circular or square opening that allows only one-way filtration.
The valved N95 mask filters air when one inhales, protecting them from the coronavirus, but when the person exhales, it simply flows out of the valve without any filtration. This allows tiny droplets containing the coronavirus to flow out of an infected person’s mask.
This puts people within 6 feet at risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus.
This valve is used because it allows easy breathability as it does not trap heat and moisture from the mouth, inside the mask.
This keeps the person’s face cool and fresh, without excess moisture build up.
N95 mask without Valve
As the name suggests, this N95 mask does not have a valve.
The air would be filtered in both directions– while inhaling as well as while exhaling. This is because there is no opening for the air to go in or out without being filtered.
This ensures the wearer’s safety as well as not allowing the infection from the wearer to spread to those around them.
However, this mask does not feature as much airflow and cooling as much as the valved mask but can provide much more protection than surgical masks (3ply masks) or cloth masks.
What the government has instructed for N95 masks
The government has called out the ‘inappropriate use’ of N95 masks with the valve by the general public that is detrimental to the prevention of Covid-19 spread.
The N95 Valved mask it to be used and worn by authorized healthcare workers only.
Why can healthcare workers wear the N95 Valved Mask?
They can wear the valved masks as they need to wear the mask all day long and need to be able to breathe easily.
They come in contact with hundreds of patients a day, who may or may not be infected.
But even if a patient is infected, the healthcare worker will not contract the virus, and not spread it to the next patients as well.
We hope this article puts an end to the rumors and false information being spread about N95 masks.
Stay safe with V-Free, and remember- Its not YOU, Its not ME. Its WE.