What's a P2 mask?
If you're not sure what we're talking about, disposable P2/N95 face masks (also known as P2/N95 respirators) are face masks that filter very fine particles from the air when worn correctly and when a good fit is achieved.
P2 masks are normally used for occupational and workplace safety reasons, for example by outdoor workers, technicians and trades workers. They are also used by healthcare workers caring for patients with certain infectious diseases. P2 masks also provide protection against the fine particles generated by bushfires, but only if used correctly and if a good fit is achieved.
How do I wear it?
The most important part of using a P2 mask is having its model properly fit tested first. Although you can still wear the mask without this, no assurances can be made as to how effective the mask's performance is, and if you're wearing the mask on the job, workplace health and safety standards require a proper fit test.
After you know that the model matches up to the fit test standards, you need to ensure that you know how to put the mask on properly. Although the steps are simple, simplicity can easily lead to complacency.
If the mask is worn improperly, you won't be protected. Moldex has provided an easy guide with images for a variety of disposable respirators, available here. We advise you study this, and triple check that you don your respiratory equipment correctly.
Facial hair runs a high risk of compromising the integrity of the seal. For a guide on the appropriate kinds of facial hair, see here. However, clean-shaven faces are the safest. A beard cannot protect you against harmful particles, and will only serve to endanger you.
Do I need a P2 mask?
Although there has been significant panic surrounding P2 masks recently, with the media attention given to the coronavirus, masks are primarily advised for those likely to be in contact with sick individuals (doctors or other medical staff), or those who are sick. Surgical masks are also recommended for those suffering from coronavirus.
Those at greatest risk are children, the elderly, and those who are already immuno-compromised. The majority of individuals suffering from the virus recover, with the WHO reporting a 3.4% mortality rate - or a 96.6% survival rate. More than 80% of the fatalities from coronavirus were people over 60 years old, according to the Chinese National Health commission, with many having pre-existing conditions. In short: you do not need to panic. Unless you are over 60 years old or have pre-existing health conditions, you are unlikely to be at risk.
Everybody I know is panicking about this; why should I trust you?
Unlike everybody else, it's our job to develop an understanding of health and safety regulations. If you wish to learn a little more about what we do and the knowledge we have, feel free to contact us and ask us personally. As proud members of Safety HQ, you can trust us to provide high quality service and advice at every opportunity. We know safety!