N95 disposable face mask or EN149 FFP2 NR face mask is designed to prevent the spread of diseases. They are usually loose fitting and cover both the nose and mouth. It has bands that hold it in place at the back of the head.
You may think that disposable face masks are just for doctors and nurses working in a hospital or office setting. For a long time, perhaps that used to be the only place you often see them, but now you are beginning to see them everywhere that you go, especially during the flu season. Don’t dismiss these as something that you may never use, as you may find that these are very useful and even necessary at some point in your life. They may seem pricy at almost a buck a piece for some, but they are well worth that price if they do the job for which they were intended.
Today, if you go into a hospital during or before the flu season, you are going to see a supply of disposable N95 or EN149 FFP2 face mask on the way in the door. Most offices and hospitals now ask that you put one of these on if you have the flu, have been exposed to the flu, or simply if you are worried that someone else you pass may have the flu. This can be very effective in stopping the spread of flu in a medical setting where you are most likely to catch the flu. Feel free to use these and don’t feel silly about it, unless of course, you like having the flu.
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If you have a newborn during flu season, you may want to have disposable N95 or FFP2 NR face masks in your home for visitors if you are not sure if they are well or not. If you have a premature baby that you bring home during flu season, you have to be even more careful, as they may have weaker immune systems. If you don’t feel like having guests that could expose your preemie to the flu, put your home in lockdown. There will be some people, like grandparents, that you may want to allow to visit. You can offer them face masks and let them know that these are non-negotiable.
You can use these for other reasons as well. If you have a dust allergy, dusting, and cleaning your home means stirring up the very thing that makes you wheeze, cough, and even break out in hives. You can use disposable face masks to help keep some of this dust out of your lungs while you attempt to use it. Though there is really no way to keep the dust out of your home and even your lungs, you can keep some from going into your nasal passages with a mask. You can also wear these if you are out in the spring and your allergies are getting the best of you. It may not seem pretty, but you will feel a bit better with the use of one on particularly bad pollen days.
These are not your typical masks, and they do have their limits. Disposable face masks may help you when you are doing things like painting or working with fumes, but then again, they may not be the right type. If you are thinking of using these for something like that, make sure you buy the right type. They cannot protect you if you are not using one that is meant to keep out the materials with which you are working. There are masks out there for all types of work, so check things out and buy the ones that fit your needs.
Most people are familiar with two kinds of disposable face masks, surgical mask and N95 or FFP2. The first kinds are those thin paper or cloth ones that surgeons wear. This simple mask serves as a very basic barrier between your mouth and nose and the outside air. This is the kind of thing that pop singer Michael Jackson was often photographed wearing whenever he ventured outdoors. It both protects you from inhaling contaminants and from breathing them in but of course; this protection only extends to a certain degree. These disposable face masks would not be appropriate at a construction site, for example, or in any other place where airborne debris is likely to be quite heavy.
Then there are N95 or EN149 FFP2 NR face masks that are intended for more serious uses on worksites or when the wearer knows he or she will come into contact with more dangerous germs than those that transmit the common cold. These disposable face masks are made of a combination of materials and are molded into a shape designed to cover your nose and mouth securely. They sometimes have a respiration valve on them as well and are intended to filter more than 99% of the contaminants in the surrounding air.
N95 or EN149 FFP2 Disposable face masks are perhaps the most well-known kind because they were specifically recommended by health experts when the swine flu epidemic broke out a few years ago. This is the kind of mask I travel with when I fly. I don’t necessarily wear it all the time, but if someone in my section of the plane is coughing and hacking for a long period, you better believe I’ll put the mask on. I don’t care what other people might say or about the strange looks I’m sure to get. Staying healthy is much more important to me than other people’s opinions, and that is the purpose the mask serves.
Anyway, disposable face masks are very cheap, so there’s no reason not to buy a package of them and carry around one or two when you fly or are going to be in close proximity with a bunch of strangers for a long period of time. You never know what might happen, and it’s definitely better to be safe than sorry. This isn’t being an alarmist; it’s being practical. There is no need to freak out about germs, but there are definitely times when precautions are necessary.