A surgical mask is a disposable filtration face mask that protects against bacterial fluids and droplets. Surgical masks are most commonly used during medical procedures like surgery. They are ideal for healthcare workers because they protect both the patient and the personnel from infections. Although they are less efficient than respirators like the N95 is in more than one way, the mask provides sufficient protection at less cost since they are more economical than N95s.
Function and qualities of a surgical mask
Surgical masks can filter out bacterial fluids and droplets which are larger than 0.3 microns. The mask does not offer a sealed fit in comparison to its counterpart, the N95 but it can filter out contaminants received as splashes or sprays. For instance, if someone standing in front of a person wearing a surgical mask coughs then the bacterial fluid released from that person's mouth may travel up to 26 feet but due to the protection of a surgical mask, the bacteria will not reach the person and will instead be filtered out by the mask.
Surgical masks, although available in multiple colors, are available in a general size only. This size is the most suitable for adults. In addition to this, surgical masks are separately categorized based on whether they are suitable for a medical environment or not. The quality of these masks is variable upon the material used in manufacturing them and thus, not all surgical masks possess the same high-quality fabric that is used in the medical-surgical masks.
Importance of surgical mask as PPE
Before the advent of surgical masks, surgeries and other medical procedures were performed by healthcare workers donning a cloth mask. Cloth masks, which are considered of seminal value as they paved the way for surgical masks, are not the most suitable choice for people associated with the medical sector. Due to this very reason, surgical masks are prevalently used by physicians during all medical procedures.
The beginning of the coronavirus pandemic made this mask all the more valuable. Although the protection provided by this mask against this virus is a lot less than that of the N95, since N95s were available in a diminished quantity, surgical masks were needed to bridge the gap. The number of COVID-19 cases in America was emerging rapidly and all healthcare workers across the country were in dire need of PPE for their safety. Due to the prominent demand for surgical masks and N95s, both of them went into an extreme shortage.
It became extremely hard for hospitals and commoners alike to obtain these products while the overall demand and price of these products simultaneously kept surging. Manufacturers and companies began charging 6 times more than the original price for a single piece of the mask during the pandemic. There was also a lot of scamming involved with companies handing over counterfeit respirators or masks to the purchasers. So when one is looking for a mask online or in stores, one should always be aware of price gouging and counterfeit products.
The best way to avoid price gouging is to compare the price of one product from more than one source and choose the more economic one. As for counterfeit masks, one should read the CDC manual which guides how to spot a fake mask. With that being said, let's dive into the main and discover on which platform or store one may be able to find a surgical mask.
Search on Amazon
Amazon is among the leading E-commerce websites of the world. This American conglomerate has managed to gain a loyal clientele in every part of the world with its indispensable service. They deal in all kinds of items consisting of grocery, medicines, and PPE like surgical masks. Amazon is home to hundreds and thousands of stores dealing in all kinds of items and provides authentic products. The user may purchase a surgical mask from this website without being wary of any scams.
Search on local websites or Instagram pages
To acquire a product that is not easily available one must search for it in every nook of the internet. This means that one must not limit themselves to well-known and trending websites only. DO your research and discover the not so famous websites that are dealing in PPE and delivering in your locality. Apart from this, Instagram is also a plausible option since nowadays Instagram is not limited to selfies and chatting only and has also become an online hub for various businesses and start-ups.
Search in your local stores
Depending on the pandemic situation in your respective area, this option may not work for you. Especially if the spread rate of your vicinity is higher, then even if you are lucky enough to get your hands on a surgical mask, it may not be very economical. However, before making a purchase one must explore all their options.
The pandemic has resulted in an extreme shortage of all kinds of PPE including surgical masks. Though the situation has now been controlled to some extent even now many hospitals are suffering from the lack of PPE available for them. Hopefully, the above-mentioned options will make the tiresome option of procuring a surgical mask at a reasonable price easier. In line with this, a person wisely explores all their options while purchasing a mask.