3 typical problems related to N95 masks (and a simple solution)

December 23, 2021
3 min

N95 respirator masks are personal protective equipment (PPE) used to protect the wearer from airborne particles and from liquid contaminating the face. They are rigorously regulated by national health organizations. During COVID-19, they have been essential to protect healthcare providers and slow the spread of the disease.  

Nevertheless, this pandemic situation demonstrated some limitations in the current N95 respirator masks. Let’s detail these issues before finding a proper solution. 

1. Size

Respirator masks are not made one-size-fits-all. The fitting test required with each healthcare worker takes from 20 to 45 minutes depending on the assessor and the assessed. And as these masks are not adapted to everyone’s facial morphology, some fall in-between sizes.  

Moreover, if the brand changes, the fitting test must be repeated as each brand has its own sizing. This essential process is highly time and money consuming for both the assessor and the assessed. 

2. Discomfort and injuries

During the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of healthcare workers noticed that these masks are uncomfortable when you must wear them for several hours in a row. The current mask designs rely on elastic head straps to ensure a tight fit, often causing headaches, facial pain and ear lobe discomfort due to tractional and tensional forces to the head. In addition, the PPE leads to a build‐up of moist warm air inside the mask, which can cause skin irritation. 

3. Fog 

Not all N95 respirators are shipped vented. The vent is a one-way valve that allows your breath to exit without condensing on the inside of the mask or fogging up your glasses, so it should be a necessity. While it does not make the N95 mask a better or worse filter, it is far more comfortable with the vent. Besides, the perfect fit is imperative to avoid fogging up your glasses. 

Conclusion and solution 

The perfect fit is a major complaint regarding N95 respirator masks. Without it, other problems like fog and even injuries can appear. And for some people, the sizes available just don’t match their morphology, condemning them to suffer on a daily basis. 

TechMed 3D decided to get involved to find a simple and effective solution. We succeeded. We are proud to announce that you are now given the opportunity to scan faces within MSoft and 3DsizeMe. Eradicate issues related to the fit: produce custom-fitted masks.  

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