Use of N95 masks

These FAQs are designed to answer some of the questions you may have regarding the use of N95 masks.

Surgical masks are being substituted for N95 masks in some areas of the health service seeing high numbers of suspected or confirmed COVID patients. This substitution applies only to staff with direct patient contact (not admin staff): Emergency Departments, Intensive Care Units, COVID wards/zones, SCOVID wards.

Frequently asked questions

How do I apply the mask?

It is essential you fit the mask correctly. Please follow these step-by-step instructions.

How do I check the mask is on correctly?

After applying the mask, ensure you have performed a seal check. Inhale and the mask should collapse. Exhale and check for leakage around your face. You must replace the mask if it becomes hard to breathe through or if the mask no longer conforms to the face or loses its shape.

How long can I wear my N95 mask?

The mask can be worn for up to four hours. You must remove the mask after four hours, and when going on meal breaks.

Do I need to wear an N95 mask if visiting patients in a medium or high risk area?

Yes, apply N95 mask on entry to a medium or high risk area. You do not need to remove the N95 when leaving the area, the mask can remain insitu for up to 4 hours.

Do I need to take the mask off outside of patient care areas?

No – the mask can stay on for up to 4 hours

Do I need to take the mask off before caring for patients who are not isolated for COVID-19?

No – the mask can stay on for up to 4 hours unless soiled, wet or you need to remove for a meal break

If I take the mask off, can I put it back on?

No. If you take your mask off, you must not re-use it. Please ensure it is disposed of correctly.

What if I touch the mask while wearing it?

The mask can continue to be worn, but you must practice correct hand hygiene immediately.

What if the mask gets soiled or wet?

Please remove the mask if it soiled or wet (e.g. blood or bodily fluids), dispose of it correctly, practice correct hand hygiene and follow the relevant precautions required.

Do I need to swap back to a surgical mask after I’ve put on an N95?

No. You can continue to wear the N95.

Where do I get a mask?

The relevant Director of Clinical Operations will continue to distribute the N95 masks, where appropriate.

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