3M and Amazon have sold out of Powered Air Respirators, much less any other respirators or masks. My grandparents could find and buy only non-powered Respirators like 3M's FF-402:

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Here are the drawbacks of N95, N99, N100, R95, P95, or P100 respirators:


Healthcare providers may develop headaches following the use of the N95 face-mask. Shorter duration of face-mask wear may reduce the frequency and severity of these headaches.

What are the effects of wearing a N95 mask?

This may be due to the mask causing increased resistance to breathing, and a reduction in the volume of air breathed. For most people this is not serious.

However, some elderly people, people with lung or heart conditions, and women in the later stages of pregnancy may already have reduced lung volumes or breathing issues.

You should take a break from using a N95 mask if you feel uncomfortable.

The Physiological Impact of N95 Masks on Medical Staff - Full Text View - ClinicalTrials.gov

Wearing N95 masks results in hypooxygenemia and hypercapnia which reduce working efficiency and the ability to make correct decision.

Medical staff are at increased risk of getting 'Severe acute respiratory syndrome'(SARS), and wearing N95 masks is highly recommended by experts worldwide. However, dizziness, headache, and short of breath are commonly experienced by the medical staff wearing N95 masks. The ability to make correct decision may be hampered, too. The purpose of the study was therefore to evaluate the physiological impact of N95 mask on medical staff.

Assume that you must wear a respirator for hours, and can't "take a break from using" them. If you feel this "hypooxygenemia and hypercapnia", then:

  1. What can you do?

  2. Can you stand in front of a fan to try to ventilate the expelled air inside the respirator?

  • This appears to be about a critical health issue now confronting world experts rather than a trivial issue wanting a lifehack.
    – Stan
    Mar 31, 2020 at 3:32
  • 1
    This might not be the answer you're looking for, but if you aren't a healthcare professional in direct contact with people infected with the corona virus, you don't need a N95 mask. A lighter mask that allows more air to pass through is efficient at reducing inhaled particles - according to a recent study a simple surgical mask filters 96% of all particles. You can even make your own mask with the information given in the link, and THAT is an actual hack.
    – Elmy
    Mar 31, 2020 at 7:28
  • @Elmy Perhaps the masks they used had a 96% filtration rate, but the only category of mask that has 95% filtration of all particles is N95 (or equivalent international standard, or better). In general, you can't say anything about whether surgical masks are good. Surgical mask is not a standard. For example I have some surgical masks whose holes are visible under magnification. They serve no purpose except to keep hands away from the mouth and nose.
    – piojo
    Mar 31, 2020 at 8:56
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    Masks do work to prevent infection. The Epidemiologist Ian Lipkin recently admitted he withheld a scientific study showing they cause a 70% reduction in viral transmission because there was a shortage of masks at the time and and they didn't want the general public buying them all up: (@ 33 minutes in) microbe.tv/twiv/twiv-special-lipkin Mar 31, 2020 at 14:40

1 Answer 1


The headache can be from having the straps too tight. Also, if you can, take the filters out of the packaging to air before use. Otherwise you smell fresh plastic.

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