Are there any stockpiling requirements for surgical masks?

Surgical masks

The surgical mask is a mask that protects the wearer or the user from inhaling harmful airborne particles such as dirt, dust, and droplets caused after a person coughs or sneezes. Surgical masks have been made for healthcare professionals to treat patients who have been infected by contagious diseases. These masks deal with small problems. 

These masks are used by healthcare professionals and healthcare providers while treating patients who have been infected by contagious diseases and viral infections like COVID-19, the swine flu, and the influenza virus, etc. Surgical masks deal with small problems while the N95 respirators deal with serious conundrums. N95 respirators keep an individual relatively safer than surgical masks.

Use of surgical masks

Surgical masks had already been in use before the pandemic. Japan, China, and North Korea were the major countries where surgical masks had already been in use. People from such countries would often wear surgical masks before the pandemic. They wear surgical masks because they are quite health-conscious, and they keep cleanliness their priority. Procedure mask, isolation mask, and face masks are some other terms for surgical masks as well.

Since the surgical masks have a loose fit to the wearer’s face, hazardous airborne particles could enter an individual’s mouth, nose, or lungs easily, which significantly increases the chances of the wearer contracting contagious diseases. Therefore, they had been designed for small problems, unlike the N95 masks that have been designed for big problems.

Stockpiling requirements for surgical masks

There are several stockpiling requirements for surgical masks. It is important for healthcare facilities to determine the quality, breathability, comfortability, and several other factors. If either of these factors does not resemble the factors made important to be noted by NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health), that product would not be released for the public as such products could inflict harm on an individual. A surgical mask has to be approved by NIOSH and FDA. 

NIOSH

NIOSH stands for National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. It is a research agency that focuses on creating a safe environment for the public. If there is a pandemic that has broken out, the researchers need to come up with ways to prevent the spread of the fatal disease. It checks whether a product is effective at keeping people safe from an illness or not. If a product has been approved by NIOSH, this means that the product can protect an individual from a fatal disease. If a product has not been approved by NIOSH, it means that the product will not be released for the use of the public.

FDA

FDA stands for Food and Drug Administration. What the FDA does is it protects the public by ensuring the security and safety of various human and veterinary drugs, vaccines, medical devices, cosmetics, and biological products, etc. It also ensures the safety of the food supply for the public and products by checking if any product emits any radiation or not. It ensures the safety of those medical devices that have been designed for human use. A product must be approved by the FDA. If a product has not been approved by the FDA, it is generally considered unsafe for the public.

There are different types of N95 masks. Different N95 respirators have distinct uses. It has been advised by higher healthcare departments to purchase masks without valves; this is because the masks with valves will not prevent the spread of COVID-19; it would do the contrary; this is why it has been recommended by higher authorities to buy N95 masks without valves. Similarly, it is advisable to purchase surgical masks because there are different types of surgical masks.

Depending on the type of surgical mask required by the healthcare facility, the healthcare facility must purchase the best surgical mask required by the employees so that they do not face any breathing or comfortability difficulties. There are several factors that one has to keep in mind before purchasing surgical masks; those factors are comfortability, breathability, durability, quality, softness, and value for money; all of these factors have usually been checked by the FDA and NIOSH before approving them.

If a surgical mask has been made by keeping in view all of these factors, it means that the overall quality of the product is exceptional. Before buying the surgical mask for the healthcare facility, the healthcare workers need to check the quality of the product before buying it for the whole facility. Furthermore, surgical masks must have different sizes as the size of the face of the employees is different from one another. Therefore, the owner of the healthcare facility should check these factors before buying surgical masks for the entire healthcare facility.

Conclusion

Therefore, a product must be approved by NIOSH and the FDA before releasing it to the public. Similarly, it is crucial for healthcare facilities to confirm whether the surgical masks have been approved or not. If surgical masks have been approved by NIOSH and the FDA, the healthcare facilities should purchase ample amounts of surgical masks. As it has been confirmed that the product is safe to be used, healthcare facilities can order as many N95 respirators as they want.

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