If you’re in the United States and you’re looking to buy an N95 face mask (which covers 95% of your face, as opposed to the 50% covered by regular masks), you may have noticed that there are some cloth masks on the market that cover 100% of your face but are cheaper than the standard N95 option. Is this a good idea? Or should you be sticking with the standards? This article explores both sides of the debate so that you can make your own informed decision about whether or not to wear a cloth mask over an N95.
Should You Wear A Cloth Mask Over Your N95 Mask?
Are you looking at the Cloth Mask, asking yourself, Should I wear this or wear an N95? Today, we are going to answer that question once and for all and give you some tips on how to choose the right kind of mask.
The Real Answer to the Question: Should You Wear a Cloth Mask Over an N95?
What do we mean by a cloth mask?
The answer to the question of whether you should wear a cloth mask over an N95 mask, or vice versa, depends on your situation and needs. For example, if you are doing light activity in an area with low airborne bacteria levels, there’s no reason not to wear both types of masks at the same time. If you’re painting your home office, however, it would be safer to wear just one of the two types of masks depending on which one provides the better fit.
Why should you consider wearing N95 over an cloth mask?
A cloth mask, typically referred to as P100 or HEPA filtered masks is made of fabric, and needs little or no pre-filter. They are not certified by NIOSH for use in high efficiency particulate arrestance (HEPA) filtering, but they can be used in place of an N95 respirator when they pass all other criteria.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and NIOSH both say that it is not safe to wear a disposable mask over another type of mask or respirator. But, they also acknowledge that there are times when it can be advantageous in certain situations. In order to understand why you might want or need to do so, let’s talk about how N95 face masks and cloth masks work.
No! You Should Wear A Cloth Mask Over Your N95! Here’s Why
Where to buy a N95
The CDC recommends that employers determine whether workers should wear cloth or disposable N95 masks by assessing workplace hazards and evaluating worker preference. Workers may prefer cloth masks because they can be worn with eyeglasses and are more comfortable than disposables. However, using them may affect communication between workers and their co-workers, as well as make it difficult for people to breathe normally.