N95 Masks Vs. Surgical Masks: Which Is Better at Preventing the Coronavirus
Since the beginning of the Pandemic, even the developed countries lacked enough PPE kits, PP Body Coverall, to Face Masks, such as - Surgical masks and N95 Masks, even to provide to protect healthcare providers from exposure to COVID 19 coronavirus. In the month of February 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in the U.S published the data of having only 42 million of the total estimated requirements of 3.5 billion masks through the course of a pandemic. Out of which only 12 million face masks were N95 face mask, typical respirators used by medical/ healthcare professionals – face mask for COVID-19 protection and prevention. And these were distributed by mid-April.
Due to international shortages of PPE, WHO recommended that healthcare workers must use medical masks while interacting with COVID 19 patients to conserve N95 face masks for aerosol generating procedures.
While the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] continues to recommend N95 masks for providers who are involved in the treatment of unmask COVID 19 patients or suspected COVID19 patients. However, due to this scare resources, they are permitting the use of fluid-resistant simple face masks (medical/ surgical Masks) instead of N95 face mask for COVID 19 protection for non-aerosol generating procedures.
Face Mask for COVID 19 protection – Which is safer?
Let us begin by understanding the basics of both Surgical Face Masks and N95 Face Masks. Primarily, both kinds of masks involve meltblown fabric. So, the Meltblown face mask filter media is the most popular filter media for best quality face masks. The difference in them lies in their build structure, seal, fluid resistance and regulatory agencies.
For all these fluid resistance surgical masks and N95 face masks, require FDA approval in the US. FDA issued an Emergency Use Authorization in the month of April, which allowed the production of medical facemasks without fluid resistance to be used as source control. These are supposed to be manufactured from material other than meltblown fabric. Later, the CDC recommended using medical/ surgical facemasks instead of cloth mask because they provide the wearer protection in addition to acting as source control.
Face Mask for COVID 19 protection: Specifications
N95 vs Surgical Face Mask: Build and Fitting
N95 Face Mask vs Surgical Face Mask: Filtration Efficiency
TO SUM IT ALL UP
So, for healthcare workers and for general use,N95 face masks are the best and most effective. However, in case of short supply of N95 one may always choose surgical masks as the filter media used in both the cases is Meltblown and Spunbond. The overall fitting and shape and size make the efficiency of N95 most effective.
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