The COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic has been one of the biggest threats and sources of concern this year. But, not only has this virus, called the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2), caused problems related to our physical health, but this pandemic also brought mental health issues, unemployment, and other economic adversities in the United States and around the world.
One of the most affected work fields has been the medical one, with hospitals and other medical centers collapsing, struggling to keep up with the influx of patients, and at the same time, not obtaining enough personal protective equipment (PPE) to work safely. The scarcity of these supplies has been an ongoing problem not only in the USA but in many other countries as well.
Face masks have also been a prominent topic related to the pandemic since they’re currently our main source for virus control. It’s been predicted that during the fall and winter, COVID-19 cases will reach another peak, and we’re already seeing the cases increase in many states.
During the holiday season, many people will travel and that represents a high risk of exposure to the virus. So, let us list a few of the best surgical mask models you can find for sale online, which you can buy in bulk or wholesale for your traveling during this season, along with a brief explanation of how surgical masks work.
A brief explanation of surgical masks
These are masks known to be the most common type of mask used in the healthcare field, and we’re used to seeing them being used by doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers. They’re commonly referred to as medical or dental masks as well, since they can be used in medical or dental procedures, not only surgical ones. They’re also often confused with regular disposable face masks, and it’s important to understand that they’re not the same thing.
The main function of surgical masks is as a physical barrier between the environmental air and the mouth and nose of the person wearing the mask. This prevents mainly fluids that can be released during procedures from being in contact with the mucous membranes. Fluids, like blood or spinal liquid, can be contaminated with pathogens that are known to cause diseases, so healthcare workers need to be protected against them with these masks.
These masks also work as filters, but they’re not as effective as N95 masks, which are also known as N95 respirators. The latter can filter out particles with a size as small as 0.4 micrometers, including dust and smoke particles, as well as viruses, and are the preferred face mask for virus protection. Surgical masks can only filter out large particles, and therefore are not recommended for antiviral purposes.
The protection these masks offer, both as a barrier and as a filter, works in both directions. They also prevent the fluids released by the wearer’s mouth and nose from reaching the environment, which is particularly important when sterile fields need to be maintained. During surgeries and other procedures that involve open wounds, this prevents them from getting contaminated or infected. When treating immunocompromised patients, which can develop serious infections caused by typically harmless microorganisms, these masks are also used.
Disposable face masks are different from reusable ones. These can only be used once, and then they should be discarded adequately. They also can’t be shared with other people. Handling them, whether it is to put it on, adjust it, or take it off, should always be done by the ear-loops or head-straps, and always avoiding touching the inside or outside of the facepiece to prevent contamination in either direction. Additionally, washing the hands before and after doing so is always recommended.
Surgical masks are specifically designed and manufactured to be used in healthcare settings where a sterile field is needed, and not any regular face mask can substitute them. The general public typically wears disposable face masks and refers to them as surgical masks, but that doesn’t mean they’re the same thing. In this article, we’ll be talking about regular disposable face masks that can be worn by the general public, and we’ll be referring to them as surgical masks, but keep in mind that the latter is only used in healthcare settings.
The best ‘surgical mask’ models to use during traveling
Traveling is one activity that has been deemed of high risk of exposure to the SARS-CoV-2. Additionally, cases are already increasing, and during the holidays, a lot of people are bound to travel to see family. This, combined with potential social gatherings that can spread the virus, even more, is the perfect formula for COVID-19 infection.
To be as safe as possible during the holiday season, here are three ‘surgical mask’ models (aka, disposable face masks often referred to as surgical masks) you can keep with you during the holidays:
- Medpride Disposable Masks
- Curad Antiviral Face Masks
- Litepak Premium Disposable Face Masks
We want to end this article by reminding our readers that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) doesn’t recommend the use of medical-grade masks by the general public during the COVID-19 pandemic, and highlights the importance of preserving these items for frontline workers. This includes surgical masks, KN95 masks, face shields, and N95 masks, including the 3M N95 masks in models like the 3M 8210, 3M 1860, and 3M 8511.
The disposable face masks mentioned in this article can be found in sizes for kids, which can start wearing face masks from the age of 2 and above.