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FAQs based on information from the Emergency Preparedness Office Of the California Department of Public Health

(Pre Covid-19 advice on guarding against smoke inhalation, but the advice is applicable to guarding against the coronavirus) KN95 RESPIRATOR MASKS FAQs. The best way to avoid smoke inhalation is to stay inside. If it’s necessary to go outside in smoky conditions, here is some information on the use of KN95 respirator masks.

Product Related

Q: What is the difference between a KN95 respirator and a dust or surgical mask?

A: KN95 respirators are tested and certified to ensure they filter at least 95% of airborne particles Dust masks and surgical masks cannot offer a sufficient level of protection from particles during wildfire conditions or the cleanup process. Surgical masks are primarily designed to prevent biological particles from being expelled by the wearer into the environment.

  1. Almost 100% of gas-based air pollution, including odours such as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), Ozone, Benzathine, and Formaldehyde. These particulates you can find in petrol fumes, chemical emissions and from many industrial processes.
  2.  Almost 100% of harmful pathogens such as viruses and bacteria.
  3. Other airborne irritants or allergens such as Dust, mould spores, some odours, pet allergens and pollen.
Q: Will a wet towel or bandana provide any help?
A: A wet towel or bandana may stop large particles, but not the fine, small ones that can get into the lungs and cause respiratory problems.
Q: Will wearing an KN95 respirator make it hard to breathe normally?
A: KN95 respirators may make breathing more difficult and lead to increased breathing and heart rates. Individuals with heart and respiratory conditions should check with their doctor before wearing an KN95 respirator.
Q. Are KN95 respirators hard to put on?
A. No, but it’s important to make sure the mask is sealed against the face. To put it on, hold the respirator in the palm of your hand with the elastic earloops facing the floor. Place the KN95 respirator on the face covering the nose and mouth. Place the earloops over the ears. Use your hands to snug the nose piece of the respirator to the bridge of the nose and around all edges for a tight seal. Check to ensure there is a good seal against the skin.
Can I wash and reuse KN95 masks?

No, dispose of your mask once you are finished using it and when it becomes damaged or stained. 

How often should I wear/change a KN95 mask when working with clients?

Keep in mind, most face masks are intended to be used once and replaced as needed. The length of time you can reuse a mask for is not specified by the CDC.  Due to the limited supply, the CDC has a list of recommended reuse methods here.

Rather than an exact count for how many times a mask can be reused, we can provide a guideline.  If you notice any deterioration of your mask in fit, performance and breathability, it should be discarded. You should thoroughly inspect the mask after each use and pay special attention to how well the mask is fitting—if your mask straps begin to lose elasticity it will no longer cover your face effectively and should be discarded.

How do I properly use and dispose of KN95 masks?

Keep your respirator mask clean and dry while wearing. Be sure to read and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on use and storage. It is very important to follow the steps outlined below when wearing a mask and disposing of your mask afterwards. Keep your respirator mask clean and dry while wearing. Be sure to read and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on use and storage. It is very important to follow the steps outlined below when wearing a mask and disposing of your mask afterwards. 

1. Thoroughly wash your hands with warm water and soap before applying the mask

2. Check that the mask is not defective or torn.

3. Place the respirator mask over your nose and under your chin. Be sure the nose clip bar is on your nose. Place the elastic bands around each ear.

4. Adjust the nose clip (thin metal bar at top of device) around your nose with your fingertips, pushing firmly to close against your nose.

5. Be sure to conduct a user seal check every time you put on the respirator mask. Facial hair will cause the respirator to leak, so users should be clean-shaven. Some types of facial hair are acceptable as long as the hair does not lie along or outside the seal.

 6. Discard the respirator:

1. After each client you see 

2. If it becomes more difficult to breathe through

3. If the mask becomes dirty

4. The respirator becomes damaged

Do not wear longer than 8 hours.

1. DO NOT TOUCH the front of the respirator during removal. It may be contaminated.Only touch the elastic straps to remove. 

2. Once the mask is removed, dispose of it in a plastic bag, tie it up andplace the plastic bag into a garbage can or biomedical waste disposal unit.

3. Wash your hands thoroughly with warm water and soap

How do I properly store my KN95 masks?

Keep in a clean bag in a hazard-free environment and away from direct sunlight in a climate-controlled area with humidity and temperature range as specified on the packaging.

Filter Technology

Q. How do I check the fit and seal of a KN95 respirator?
A. It’s important that the respirator fits properly and air does not leak around the sides. If it does not fit properly, the respirator will provide little if any protection, and may offer a false sense of security.
Q. How long can an KN95 respirator be worn?
KN95 respirators should be worn for a maximum of eight hours and should be replaced regularly.
Q. Under what circumstances should I NOT wear an KN95 respirator?
A. In the following situations, for the following reasons: • KN95 respirators do not provide oxygen so they should never be worn in a confined space with low oxygen levels. • KN95 respirators have no effect in an atmosphere containing toxic levels of gases or vapours. • KN95 respirators should not be used in certain industrial applications such as asbestos removal, sandblasting or painting.
Q. What about storing a KN95 respirator?
A. Store KN95 respirators in a clean environment to protect them from damage, contamination, dust, sunlight, extreme temperatures, and damaging chemicals. Proper storage will also prevent deformation of the respirator.
Q: What is the shelf life of an KN95 respirator?
A: The standard shelf life of KN95 respirators is a maximum of two years from production date and if it has been stored in the original packaging. Storage conditions can also affect shelf life.
Q. What does the N in KN95 stand for?
A. Particulate respirators and cartridges are classified by NIOSH into three classifications, N, R, and P. • N class respirators/cartridges are not resistant to oil mists. • R class respirators/cartridges are resistant to oil mists (<8 hours). • P class respirators/cartridges are oil proof (>8 hours).
Q. What does the 95 in KN95 stand for?
A. 95 refers to the efficiency of the filtration of the respirator or cartridge, meaning it filters at least 95% of 0.3 micrometers, meaning it has a 5% leakage factor.
Q. What is an KN95 respirator ?

A. KN95 respirators are air-purifying masks. They are filter masks that fit over the nose and mouth, and when properly fitted, can filter 95% of smoke particles. However, KN95 respirators do not filter toxic gases, vapors or the smell of smoke.

Q. Can an KN95 respirator filter very small particles ?

A. Yes, KN95 respirators can filter particles less than 0.3 micrometers. By comparison, the width of a single human hair is approximately 60 micrometers.
B. Q. KN95 respirators are designed to protect against particulate matter such as dust, fumes, mists, aerosols, and smoke particulates. It is also effective against biological particles such as pollen, mold spores, bacteria, viruses, animal dander and allergens. A KN95 respirator is particularly effective against aerosolized droplets that are invisible to the naked eye.

Q. What doesn't a KN95 respirator protect against ?

A. KN95 respirators are not effective against the smell of smoke or gases and vapours such as methane and carbon monoxide. Vapours may also include chemicals such as organic solvents and formaldehyde.

Q. What are some limitations of the KN95 respirator ?

A. Some limitations of an KN95 respirator include:

  • They may not fit small children and cannot be adapted to properly fit a small child. Due to the potential danger of suffocation such respirators should not generally be provided to young children or adults with chronic respiratory problems.
  • Beards, stubble, or long mustaches may prevent an KN95 from sealing to the face properly, causing leaks.
  • It may be difficult for first-time users to put a KN95 respirator on properly: practice putting it on before an emergency arises.

How to Use/Dispose of KN95 Masks

What is NIOSH?
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is the United States federal agency responsible for conducting research and making recommendations for the prevention of work-related injury and illness. NIOSH is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
How will KN95 masks protect the wearer?
KN95 masks will filter out 95% of airborne particles. This helps protect against viruses, dust particles, pollution and more. While protecting against airborne particles, this also protects the wearer from releasing any particles into the environment.
Does wearing the KN95 mask help protect against COVID-19?
Yes, per the FDA and CDC, KN95 masks are approved for use when treating patients with COVID-19. This approval came on April 3rd and can be seen here.
What is the difference between surgical masks, respirators and surgical respirators?
A KN95 particulate mask blocks at least 95 per cent of very small (0.3 microns) test particles, and while a disposable surgical mask is fluid-resistant and protects the user against large particles (5 microns), droplets, sprays or splatter. Surgical masks are designed to be worn by healthcare professionals during surgery and nursing, to help prevent contamination of the surgical field or the patient by capturing liquid droplets that are expelled by the user. Different from a loose-fitting, disposable surgical mask, a KN95 mask tight-fitting to achieve a very close facial fit, which guarantees a minimal leakage around the edges of the mask when the user inhales. If properly fitted, the filtration capabilities of KN95 respirators exceed those of disposable surgical face masks.
What is the difference between N95 and KN95 Masks?
The KN95 Masks are foldable and flat packed whereas the N95 Masks are not. To be certified as a KN95 mask, the Chinese government requires the manufacturer to run mask fit tests on people with an ≤ 8% leakage. The N95 mask standard does not require manufacturers to run fit tests. N95 masks have slightly stricter requirements for pressure drop while inhaling and pressure drop while exhaling. This makes N95 masks slightly more breathable than KN95 masks.
Does 95% efficiency mean that 5% of the particles get through the mask?
All masks are designed to help reduce, not eliminate, exposures to airborne hazards. For example, N95-rated FFRs have a filtration efficiency of at least 95% against non-oily particles when tested using the NIOSH criteria. The particles used to test the filtration are in a size range that is considered the most penetrating. Therefore, the test methods ensure that the filter media can filter particles of all sizes with at least 95% efficiency. It’s important to remember that the filter efficiency alone does not determine the overall reduction in airborne hazards provided by a mask. There are two other key determinants in reducing exposure: fit and wear time.
Why is only the KN95 mask option available?
We have chosen to sell KN95 masks because they have 5 protective filter layers and a filtering rate of 95% with anti-dust and anti-pollution protection. They are best suited for shipping and their flat design allows for more masks per box.

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