How to ship surgical masks internationally

In recent times, when the coronavirus continues to affect the world, face masks are considered the hottest items. There are different types of face masks used to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, but most in-demand are the surgical masks and N95 masks that are used by the healthcare and frontline workers.

The demand for N95 masks and surgical masks

The N95 mask is originally designed for industrial use. The N95 mask is meant to filter airborne particles in the immediate environment. This type of air-filtering device is very useful in the mining, construction, manufacturing, and food processing industries. There are different types of N95 masks, depending on their intended application.

The N95 mask is regulated and tested by the US NIOSH. But there are N95 masks that are approved by the FDA for surgical masks. 

Since the start of the pandemic, there has been an increasing demand for N95 masks and surgical masks. This is because the medical and healthcare workers need these masks to protect themselves, especially when caring for patients infected with the virus. 

Because of the increasing demand and low supply, the CDC and FDA issued guidelines on the reuse and extended use of face masks. As long as the surgical masks and N95 masks are clean and intact, they should be used several times. 

Also, the CDC and FDA allowed some models of the KN95 masks to be used in emergency situations, especially in the hospitals and medical clinics. 

To help save the supply of surgical masks and N95 masks, the general public is also encouraged to use cloth masks and other types of disposable face masks.

Shipping surgical masks internationally

Because there are limited supplies of surgical masks in some countries, some hospitals, healthcare institutions, and even small clinics are importing N95 mask supplies. 

When buying surgical masks from international suppliers,  it is important to remember these tips on international shipping.

Purchase surgical masks from certified suppliers.

It is important to know the regulations as each country has its own regulations when it comes to shipping medical items like surgical masks, and N95 masks. To avoid complicated international shipping processes of the medical items, purchase surgical masks from suppliers that already have the necessary certifications. Make sure that the seller of the surgical masks has the proper documentation. 

Learn the shipping requirements for each country.

You need to make sure what are the specific requirements for each country when it comes to shipping surgical masks. In the United States, medical items including surgical masks should be FDA-approved. Meanwhile, in Europe, medical supplies should comply with the  EN149 and EN14683 standards.

Customs Duties and Taxes/Clearance.

You need to consider customer clearance too when shipping surgical masks. Some countries are starting to eliminate tariffs for medical suppliers, including surgical masks suppliers.

Check the delivery time.

There are several options to ship the surgical masks and other medical supplies. There are trusted and big shipping companies and traditional air freight and chartered flights. On average, the transit time takes five to seven days, but it still depends on the volume and flight schedule.

Other masks and protective devices

N95 masks

The N95 mask is an air-filtering protective device that can filter up to 95% of the air particles and contaminants. It can filter small air particles larger than 0.3 microns. The N95 mask is widely used in both medical and industrial settings. The medical-grade N95 masks have the capacity to filter respiratory droplets and other bodily fluids. 

The N95 mask is regulated by the United States National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. And there are some N95 masks that are approved by the FDA for surgical use. The N95 masks are intended for healthcare and frontline workers.

Cloth mask

Since the N95 masks and surgical masks are intended for the frontline and healthcare workers, the CDC recommends the public to use cloth masks instead. Cloth masks are reusable and effective in delivering protection to the wearer against the coronavirus. 

The cloth masks are also more suitable for the elderly because they are easier to breathe in, especially when worn for long hours. The cloth masks come in different styles, designs, and sizes. They are also suitable for kids.

Non-medical disposable face masks

Aside from the cloth masks, non-medical disposable face masks are also very popular. This type of face mask is available online and can be purchased in bulk or smaller quantities. Disposable face masks are not intended to be used several times. It does not offer the same level of protection as the N95 masks and surgical masks, but disposable face masks are reliable enough to give protection against coronavirus. 

Face shield

In some places, people are wearing face masks and face shields. The CDC cannot tell the effectiveness of the face shield and thus, they do not recommend wearing one as an alternative to face masks. The face shield has large gaps and ideally, it should be worn over the face mask. The face shield is meant to provide additional protection. It also helps in extending the life of the face masks, preventing the face masks from being contaminated.

The coronavirus was reported in late 2019, affecting small and big businesses worldwide. To date, there have been more than 90 million confirmed cases of coronavirus all over the world. More than half already recovered and there were 2 million recorded deaths. 

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