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How to properly wear the N95 mask

If you’re one of the few Americans that’s been able to get your hands on an N95 mask, it’s important that you not only use it, but know how to use it properly. The State of New York has updated their government website to include guidelines for using your N95 mask. We’re going to go over a few of the Do’s and Don'ts here, but you really should check out their page.

Identifying an N95 mask:

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) tests and certifies all N95 masks. Each mask should include the NIOSH logo as well as a certification or TC approval number. The TC will be found on either the mask’s packaging or the mask itself. If your mask hasn’t been certified, you may not be properly protected.

Wearing your N95 mask:

All N95 masks should come with directions from the manufacturers on how to properly wear them. However, in the event you don’t have the directions, the following tips can help.

-Ensure the mask covers your nose and mouth

-The mask should fit snugly

-Your N95 mask should be worn on “smooth skin” (even one day of facial hair growth can lead to improper fitting)

What an N95 mask won’t do:

The protection a certified and tested N95 mask offers isn’t universal. As New York State’s website explains, “N95 masks do NOT protect you against chemical vapors, gases, carbon monoxide, gasoline, asbestos, lead or low oxygen environments.”

When to throw out your mask for a new one:

If your mask ever becomes clogged or you’re having difficulty breathing while wearing it, it’s likely time to discard it for a new one. You should also do so if it ever becomes “wet or dirty on the inside, if it is deformed, or if the filter is torn.” It’s also important to remember that an N95 mask cannot be cleaned or disinfected.

To read New York State’s complete guidelines on fitting and wearing your N95 mask, follow this link: