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P2 Respirator Mask | Dexcon

As the pandemic spreads its reach into 2022 and the Omicron strain impacts everyone’s lives, we are learning more about the benefits of face masks and how they can stop the spread of the COVID-19 strains.

The variant Omicron virus is twice as transmittable compared to the Delta strain. This puts an excessive strain on the health industry across the world. Currently, an increasing number of professionals working in the health industry are stressing that most cloth-based face masks may no longer be sufficient in protecting people against the Omicron strain.

Many experts have also advised to upgrade masks, preferably from surgical-style disposable masks into N95 or KN95 respirators. But what are these masks? Is a P2 respirator mask the same as N95 masks? Let’s find out.

Is the N95 Mask the Same as a P2 mask?

P2 mask and an N95 mask are technically similar types of half-face particulate respirators, serving the same purpose. Both of these items aim to protect the wearer from contaminants in the air. They create a shield over the nose and mouth to provide adequate filtration whenever people wear them. 

The United States uses the term N95, which NIOSH classifies. Meanwhile, the country describes them according to three classes of a particular filter: Classes P1, P2 and P3. 

P1 Rating

It’s a filter rating class based on the AS/NZS1716, allowing it for general use in New Zealand and Australia. It can filter at least 80% of airborne particles and suits particles less than 1 micron.

P2 Rating

Same with a mask under the P1 rating, a P2 respirator mask is a respiratory filter that went through strenuous regulations in Australia and New Zealand. Masks with this rating have at least 94% filtration against airborne particles, and they are suitable for both small particles from the mechanical process and biologically active airborne particles.

P3 Rating

Unlike the first two ratings, masks under this category cover the user’s entire face. Among the three ratings, P3 has the highest filtration with 99.95 per cent. Masks with this rating are highly suitable for particles generated from mechanical processes, promote infection control and prevent exposure to highly toxic particles such as asbestos. 

N95-rated masks are under the NIOSH standards, which are primarily used in Canada and the United States. They add a layer of protection for both thermally and mechanically generated particles. Similar to the P2 standard used in Australia, the N95 rating filtrates at least 95% of airborne particles. It’s highly effective against both biologically and thermally generated particles.

What Does a P2 Respirator Mean?

The P2 class of respirators is certified in Australia. A P2 respirator mask satisfies the AS/NZS 1716:2012 ‘Respiratory protective devices’ in Australia. For face mask standards, it should meet either AS4381:2015 (Australian), ASTM F2100-11 (North American), or EN14683 (European and relevant respirator standard. A P2 respirator mask should also be FDA- or TGA-approved for splash resistance, ideally to a Level 3 pass. 

When worn, disposable P2 or N95 masks can effectively filter out granular particles from the atmosphere. Aside from reducing exposure to poor air quality, it can also filter out viruses, such as the Omicron variant.

When fitting a P2 mask, you must take time to correctly identify both the style and size of the mask that suits you. Here are a few methods to help you determine if the fit is right.

*People with facial hair, particularly beards, should shave before wearing a P2 mask. Doing so will provide them with an efficient seal when wearing it. So, to help you maintain its effectiveness, consider changing it once it gets moist. It’s also best to wait until you’re in an area with cleaner air quality before taking it off.

Can P2 masks be reused?

Health workers need to dispose of surgical and P2 masks after a single use. However, the general community can reuse the product multiple times until the elastic strap breaks. It’s also essential to remember not to wash the mask with soap and water or sanitise it with alcohol. Doing so decreases their effectiveness in filtering out particles. Instead, you can opt to put it out in the sun to dry.

It’s also highly recommended to purchase at least seven respirators and rotate their daily use. Doing so will prevent the virus particles from getting activated within seven days.

The Bottomline

Wearing a P2 mask adds a layer of protection against the Omicron variant. However, it’s equally important to follow other preventive measures to prevent the spread of the virus. 

Also, remember that P2 respirators are only effective when used correctly. Failure to do so massively limits its potential of adding protection. In these challenging times, be sure to take the necessary steps to ensure that everyone in your family remains safe from the virus.

If you’re looking for a reliable supplier of P2 respirator masks and other medical devices, check us out Dexcon. We are Australasia’s leading PPE and medical device solutions, consulting and procurement company that offers high-quality medical devices and personal protection products. For more details about our products, contact us.

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