If you’re having a difficult time finding N95 respirators (masks), here’s an alternative to consider; And these alternatives work as good or better than the typical N95!
Reusable half face respirators can use a wide variety of filters, including P95 and P100 filters. Note that the ‘P’ designation means the filter material is oil proof. The filter for these masks come in pairs and are about as expensive as N95 and N100 masks, perhaps even a little cheaper. And, most importantly, you can still find them, even though all the N95 and N100 masks are sold out.
There are different kinds of respirators, but one that will work is the 3M 6200 Half Face Reusable Respirator and comes in small, medium or large sizes. Small will work for kids (not infants) and maybe for adults with small or narrow faces. Large would be good for people with a large head or big face. Medium works for the majority in between. The P95 filter is the 3M 2071, and the P100 filter is the 3M 2091.
Note that much like the N95 and N100 respirators, these won’t work well with facial hair. When you decide it’s time to wear a protective mask, shave the beard or goatee (along with your mustache, if it’s big enough to interfere with the mask seal).
These respirators have the advantage of being comfortable and are designed to be reusable. The entire mask, excluding the filters, can be cleaned and sterilized (following the instructions that come with the unit). The filters, of course, need to be replaced when they are either damaged or breathing become restricted.
Because the filters are on the sides of the mask, it’s a little easier to doff, don and handle it without touching the filters. You could also, probably, cover the filters with a small plastic bag to keep cross contamination to a minimum. Once the filters are removed, make sure to sterilize the entire mask following the manufacturers directions (which should come with each mask).
Though you may be behind the curve on acquiring your pandemic supplies, there are alternatives you can still get, even during this peak demand period. Also, the prices on Amazon are currently higher than they should be. Because of the fluid nature of the CoV situation, check the internet for other places that sell these items. One place I found better prices was at Enviro Safety Products.