There are different types of face masks and they have different levels of effectiveness and filtering capacity. There are N95 masks and other face respirators. There are also surgical masks and cloth masks. These masks are widely used in different fields - medical, industrial, mining, construction, and a lot more.
Surgical mask vs N95 mask
Surgical masks and the N95 masks have become very popular in recent times because of the coronavirus. Both types of masks deliver protection against the virus, which can be spread through respiratory droplets produced with sneezing, coughing, and even talking. However, despite delivering the protection people need in these trying times, the surgical masks and N95 masks have several differences.
The N95 respirator is evaluated and tested by the United States National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The surgical mask, on the other hand, is cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration. The intended purpose of a surgical mask is to provide users the protections against large splashes, droplets, or sprays of bodily fluid, as well as hazardous fluid. It also protects the patient from the user's respiratory fluid emissions. Face respirators, like the N95 mask, are meant to reduce the user's exposure to air particles, including tiny aerosol particles and large droplets that are non-oil.
When it comes to filtration, the surgical mask does not provide the user with a reliable level of protection. It is not reliable in terms of respiratory protection as there is leakage when inhaling. When it comes with the N95 masks, it promises users to filter at least 95% of airborne particles, including small
Ideally, both the N95 masks and the surgical masks are disposable. Surgical masks need to be discarded after each patient encounter. However, because of the ongoing shortage of N95 masks, the CDC issued guidance on the reuse and prolonged usage of N95 masks. The N95 mask should also be discarded when it is deformed or damaged when the seal is not working efficiently when it gets wet and dirty, and especially when it is contaminated by blood and other respiratory fluids from patients.
Choosing high-quality surgical masks
There are a lot of surgical masks available in the market - different brands, different materials. But which surgical mask should you buy? Here are a few things to remember:
- The surgical mask should be labeled accordingly - for surgical, dental, laser, isolation, and medical procedure masks. These surgical masks provide protection against body fluid, large air particles, and microorganisms.
- The surgical mask has loose-fitting but covers the nose and mouth to prevent exposure to saliva and other respiratory fluid.
- The materials used to make a surgical mask is soft and should be comfortable to wear.
- Single-use surgical masks are packed in boxes.
Surgical masks and COVID
Surgical masks are considered disposable face masks. However, the general public is encouraged not to use surgical masks and respirators that are meant for healthcare workers. There has been a limited supply of surgical masks and respirators since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, thus the surgical mask is reserved for healthcare workers and other medical frontline responders.
However, there are several alternatives to surgical masks. Instead of using a surgical mask, the general public should use cloth masks, non-medical disposable masks, masks with two or three layers, and masks with inner filter pockets. These masks are a good substitute for a surgical mask. These offer protection against large droplets of respiratory fluids and even blood.
To protect yourself against the coronavirus avoid the following:
- Masks that are too loose or too tight, and with large gaps
- Masks with materials that are hard to breathe through
- Loosely-woven fabric or knitted
- One layer-masks
- Masks with vents or exhalation valves
Buying affordable surgical masks online
Surgical masks are very useful for medical and healthcare workers. Luckily, they are available online. There are different brands of surgical masks that you can purchase online. Some are very affordable, some are pricey. Some are made in the USA, some are made from China and other countries. If you are looking for affordable surgical masks, you should check out these websites:
Amazon offers different brands of surgical masks. You can surely find a surgical mask that fits your preferences. Most of the masks are 3-ply or in 3 layers, so you will surely get the protection you needed. Aside from surgical masks, there are also other disposable masks you can purchase on Amazon. These masks are comfortable to wear and easy to breathe in. In terms of quantity, you can buy a surgical mask in boxes of 50, 100, or more.
Clinical Supplies is one of the reliable websites that are selling disposable surgical masks. You can find a wide variety of surgical masks on their website. The surgical face masks are made in the USA and are ASTM level 3. The surgical mask has a reasonable price, and well-made. The surgical masks are comfortable to be worn for hours. You can also buy the surgical mask in bulk. There are packs of 50, 100, 200, 500, and more. Buying the surgical mask in bulk will surely give you a lot of savings.
Etsy is also a good website to go to if you want an affordable surgical mask. There are black-colored surgical masks and there are also regular ones. If you don’t want to buy in bulk, you can easily find a surgical mask in packs of 10s and 20s.
Another website to check out if you are looking for an affordable surgical mask is Walmart. They are selling surgical masks that are comfortable and breathable. The price of the surgical mask is reasonable and you can buy it in small quantities or in bulk.
Surgical masks will not provide you the full protection against coronavirus or any viral illnesses, but it will reduce the risk of infection. It is always helpful to practice social distancing, hand-washing, and always cover the nose and mouth when coughing.