Both the N95 and P2 respirators are essential ingredients in the battle against infection and the spread of the coronavirus. However, the N95 is the approved model for the United States while Australia and New Zealand approved P2 for their countries. In actual practice, the two types of masks do not differ in a way that affects the level of protection of the efficiency to the wearer. Also, the two masks come in two sizes, such as medium size for regular adults and small size for a child or young adult.
As far as the P2 is concerned, the Australian and New Zealand Standard for Respiratory Protective Devices is AS/NZS1716. But the standard that offers guidance on the selection, use, and maintenance of the facemask is AS/NZS1715. The latter is more commonly used in determining which respirator will be appropriate for industrial purposes. It is also worthy of note that different certifications are acceptable in the Australian market.
Again, the P2 respirator mainly belongs to the P-class of face masks or respirators that are similar in design to N95, only that the approving standards differ and the places of application.
Key Differences between N95 and P2
The details below show the differences between the N95 and the P2 face masks;
- Test and Approval: The N95 face mask was approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in the US. On the other hand, the ‘Conformité Européen’ (CE) and the EN tested and approved the P2.
- Efficiency Requirements: NIOSH required a filter efficiency of a range between 95 and 99.97% for N95. However, the EN requires a range between 94 and 99% of filter efficiency for approval.
- Aerosol Flow Rate: N95 has an aerosol flow rate of 85 liters per minute, while the P2 has an aerosol flow rate of 95 liters per minute.
- Aerosol Particle Size: in terms of the particle size, N95 can permit a maximum capacity between 0.3 to 0.6 micros while the P2 has a maximum pore particle size of 0.3 microns.
In conclusion, users of either the N95 or the P2 must be sure of the testing results of the selected respirator. Besides, the wearer must adhere strictly to the standard methods of wearing and that of removing the respirator. After putting on the face mask, ensure that you can breathe in and out conveniently. If not, adjust the straps to the most convenient point and adjust the fitting to leave no space at the edges of the mask.
After use, when the respirator has been removed, don’t forget to drop it off into a container. The container should have a lid and must be out of reach to infect others. Remember that the protection is not only to shield the person from the wearer but also to protect the wearer from contacting the patient’s saliva or respiratory secretions.
Apart from the respirator, there is an order of removing all the Personal Protective Equipment that the health professional might be using. Other notable PPEs include protective goggles, shoes or boots, coats or gowns, gloves, and hand sanitizers.