Understanding the Difference Surgical Mask and N95 Respirator
The breakout of Coronavirus has created a frenzy all around the globe. The delicate situation of the world is frightening for all. However, if you are a hypochondriac, the coronavirus can elevate your anxiety and stress levels even more. The best way to deal with this anxiety is to educate yourself on all the ways you can protect yourself from the virus and integrate these methods into your daily life.
As the COVID-19 is a relatively new virus, there isn’t much information available on the way it is transmitted. However, researchers claim that the virus is transmitted through the respiratory droplets that escape from the infected person’s mouth when they speak, cough or sneeze. The respiratory droplets swiftly evaporate, thus turning into small particles that can be inhaled by individuals within the proximity of the infected person.
As a result of this, wearing face masks to prevent inhalation is recommended for the general public, as well as the health care workers. There are different types of face masks that you can wear during the pandemic. Every type of mask performs a different function.
The surgical mask
The surgical mask is a medically created face mask that is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The surgical mask is commonly worn by dentists and surgeons to prevent the droplets and bacteria from falling out from the mouth and nose areas. The surgical masks are not designed to protect the individuals from catching the virus, rather they protect the environment from the wearer’s bacteria.
However, as surgical masks are fluid resistant, they can protect the wearer by inhibiting the penetration of large droplets and bodily fluids. Surgical masks can, therefore, protect the wearer from making contact with harmful fluids.
A disadvantage of surgical masks is that they do not safeguard the wearer from inhaling small airborne particles. Additionally, as surgical masks are loose fitted, they do offer a limited space between the skin and the mask, through which the virus can potentially contact the skin. The lack of fitting around the edges further allow leakage to occur when the wearer inhales.
If you are using surgical masks, it is important to dispose off the mask after each use. Re-using the surgical mask is not recommended as it may be contaminated.
The N-95 Respirator Facemask
The N 95 respirator facemask has been tested and approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), which is a federal agency in the United States that conducts research and provides recommendations for the prevention of work-related injury and illness. The N 95 respirator face mask has been approved as per the 42 CFR part 84 requirements.
The N 95 respirator face mask is created to completely fit around the wearer’s face. Due to this, this type of face masks minimizes the chances of leakage around the edges, when the wearer inhales.
Additionally, unlike the surgical face mask, the N 95 respirator face mask undergoes a fit check requirement, as well as a user-seal check requirement. This suggests that a seal check is carried out every time a respirator face mask is put on. The greatest strength of an N 95 face mask is that it holds the ability to filter out 95% of airborne particles. Hence, it can offer a superior degree of protection.
The N 95 surgical mask should be discarded:
- After coming in contact with an infected individual
- After aerosol-generating procedures.
- In case the mask becomes damaged or if the seal breaks.
- If the mask becomes contaminated.
- If the mask cause breathing difficulties.
Although wearing a face mask is not recommended for the general public, you can still purchase these masks online if it helps reduce your anxiety regarding the COVID-19 outbreak.