When you go into the medical field, especially when it comes to nursing, you will be asked to wear special types of protective equipment on occasion. This is true when it comes to situations where you may come into contact with airborne diseases, like tuberculosis. Airborne illnesses specifically require respiration N95 masks. They need to be fitted to you with the assistance of qualitative fit testing. Keep reading to learn why this is necessary and also how the fit testing will be completed.
Why Are N95 Masks Required?
N95 masks are a special type of personal protective equipment that is worn by a variety of different medical professionals. And the masks are required at any time that you come into contact with an airborne disease. This is necessary to reduce infection risks and to ensure that you are not spreading the illness to patients who may be immunocompromised.
An N95 mask fits your face to ensure there is a tight seal around the nose and mouth. This prevents even minuscule amounts of airborne particles from slipping around the mask to where they can be inhaled. The mask also provides increased filtration over general-use face masks to ensure that the air you breathe is as clean as possible.
N95 masks are not one-size-fits-all. They are also not disposable masks. So, you should be prepared to go through a fitting to make sure the sizing is correct, and you will be keeping this mask for your own use. You should not share the mask with others, and you should know that your medical facility will likely require the fitting and use of the mask. Replacement masks may need to be ordered at some point, so make sure that you are writing down the size of the device. While this is true, you also may need to go through a new fitting once every year or two as changes in weight and face shape can lead to a tight or loose mask.
What Is Fit Testing?
Fit testing is where an OSHA-qualified fitting specialist or a trained health care professional will help to fit a mask to your face. Measurements may be taken and the size and shape of your face will be examined. You will try on different masks, and the fitter will decide which one appears to be the correct fit. You will then be asked to place a specialized hood over your head while you wear the mask.
The hood will release a special aerosol that you will either be able to taste or smell. You will be asked if you can detect the material, and if you can, a smaller mask will be tried. This will continue until you can no longer detect the aerosol.
Call a company like National Fit Test Services for more information about qualitative fit testing and training.