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Surgical Masks Vs. N95 Respirator Masks: What’s the Difference?

Surgical Masks Vs. N95 Respirator Masks: What’s the Difference?

Surgical masks and N95 respirators protect the user from airborne pathogens such as COVID-19. They also fall under the parameters of personal protective equipment (PPE). Even though people frequently use both to protect against airborne particles, especially in healthcare situations, the N95 respirator is much more effective. But it isn’t always necessary.

When choosing between surgical masks versus N95 respirator masks, ask yourself what’s the difference between them? Explore the advantages of both in this blog.

Surgical Masks

A surgical mask is a disposable and loose-fitting mask that sits over a person’s mouth and nose. Like N95 masks, you shouldn’t share them; typically, medical professionals and sometimes patients wear them during surgery or dental procedures. As we learned this past year, they are more than adequate for the general public to protect themselves from airborne illnesses.

Due to their loose fit and intended design, they don’t offer total protection from germs and contaminants. While a surgical mask can prevent the spraying of liquid and large airborne droplets, it’s ineffective at stopping tiny airborne particles. For safety in environments where someone would encounter small airborne particles, anyone at risk should use an N95 respirator mask.

N95 Respirators

An N95 respirator mask has an extremely close fit and is extremely helpful in environments where the user needs to block small airborne particles. To block tiny particles, an N95 forms a tight seal around the nose and mouth.

You'll find N95 masks used in healthcare settings, especially those with high-risk exposure to infectious diseases. Workers can also use them for construction or industrial environments to prevent toxic dust from being inhaled.

If you are planning on wearing an N95 mask, there are some precautions to take.

N95 Precautions

Before using an N95 mask, consider these precautions:

  • If you have any respiratory or cardiac conditions that make breathing difficult, check with your doctor before wearing an N95 mask.
  • There are N95 masks with exhalation valves, and they should not be worn in situations when sterility is needed.
  • You shouldn’t wear an N95 if you have facial hair as it will prevent a tight fit and not offer complete protection.

Comparing surgical masks versus N95 respirator masks and knowing the difference can help you make the most informed decision when purchasing masks. You can find Niosh N95 respirator masks at Quick Supplies Online for any healthcare or industrial setting.

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