As the U.S. continues to reel under the pandemic, mask-wearing has become a politically charged talking point. In the newest development, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Mr. Joe Biden has called for a nationwide mask mandate. This has enthused personal protective equipment manufacturers and masks advocates alike. Public-health experts have long advocated for the role of face-coverings in slowing down the spread. Recent studies have also suggested that masks also protect the wearer. Earlier it was believed that a face mask improves safety for others but not the person wearing it.
All these mean that face masks have a crucial role in fighting this deadly virus outbreak. And that brings us to one common question: what kind of face-covering should we wear? Even among ardent mask supporters the divide between surgical and N95 masks has been wide and intense. But you don’t have to be confused anymore. After reading this blog post you’ll have a clear understanding of what kind of masks best protect you and slow the spread.
How Surgical Masks Slow Down the Spread
Surgical masks are loose-fitting face coverings that create a barrier between the wearer and their immediate environment. These masks are disposal personal protective equipment. In the U.S., they could be labeled as surgical, dental, medical procedure, or isolation masks. They are sold by PPE suppliers in the USA and around the world. Surgical masks may or may not have a face shield. Surgical masks are often simply called face masks.
Structurally, surgical masks are of different thicknesses. They could also be made from different materials. These properties largely decide the level of protection these masks provide. The properties also determine how easily you can breathe through the surgical mask. If you wear it properly, a surgical mask can protect you from large-particle respiratory droplets, splashes, or any other kind of microbial particles. Face masks protect your mouth and nose from exposure to a potential contagion.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, surgical masks have played a significant role in slowing down the spread. In some countries, they have also helped authorities to flatten the curve. For instance, the trend of wearing a face-covering in South Asian countries helped them control the outbreak early in the pandemic.
More and more people are now wearing a face mask in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world. It has also created higher demands among bulk PPE suppliers in the USA and around the world.
Wearing N95 Respirators
N95 respirators are respiratory protective equipment designed to provide a very close facial fitting. They achieve very efficient filtration of airborne particles. The edges of an N95 respirator form a seal around the nose and mouth. Thus, it provides a very high level of air filtration to the wearer. N95 respirators are commonly used in healthcare settings to avoid contamination from a high-risk environment.
With a worsening crisis in the U.S. healthcare system, the demands for N95 respirators reached record levels. Nurses and other medical professionals, in fact, organized nationwide protests demanding proper personal protective equipment. N95 mask manufacturers around the world have been scaling up productions to meet the soaring demands. The pandemic has also prompted scientific innovation in PPE manufacturing. For instance, researchers at Stanford University built a portable oxygen device to solve breathing problems while wearing an N95 respirator. People who wear N95s for a long period of time usually experience overheating or lack of oxygen. The Stanford research team aims to solve those problems by providing a device that pumps pure oxygen to the wearer.
N95s for Healthcare & Industrial Settings
N95 respirators usually designed for construction sites and other industrial settings. Some N95s are specifically manufactured for use in healthcare settings. Such N95 respirators are regulated by the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. The single-use, disposable N95 respiratory protective devices are worn by healthcare professionals during procedures. These devices protect both the patient and the wearer from the potential transfer of microorganisms, body fluids, and other particles.
Conclusion: Should You Wear a Surgical Mask or N95 Respirator?
Numerous studies have suggested that any face covering is better than not covering for face at all. However, you should be careful about how to wear a mask for optimal safety. Make sure that your mouth and nose are fully covered even while wearing a surgical mask. N95 respirators are usually recommended for high-risks indoor environments and healthcare settings. However, there’s no harm if you want to wear an N95 instead of a surgical mask. In both cases, wearing it properly is more important.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates surgical masks and N95 respirators differently. It’s based on their intended use. Both categories have a strikingly different structure. But during a public health crisis like this, they serve one common purpose: slowing down the spread. Co-Defend has been a key contributor to the fight against COVID-19 in the U.S. Being one of the leading bulk PPE suppliers in the USA, we have helped organizations and individuals to seamlessly get all the PPE supplies they need.
Q. How does the coronavirus spread? Can it be in food?
The coronavirus spread between people via tiny respiratory droplets. It could spread through the air or via contaminated surfaces. These droplets can be expelled into the air primarily through coughing or sneezing. According to the FDA, there is currently no evidence that coronavirus transmission occurs through food.
Q. How is the coronavirus spread by infected people with no symptoms?
People who are infected with coronavirus but not showing symptoms can still spread the virus, according to Harvard Medical School’s Coronavirus Resource Center. Aerosolized droplets containing the virus can still exit the body through breaths and speech and float through the air. Masks can help prevent the spread of the virus.
Q. How can I contribute to slowing down the spread?
Physical distancing is extremely important. It keeps us out of the most concentrated parts of other people’s respiratory plumes. Wear a mask. Masks help block aerosols released by the wearer. It also protects the wearer. Avoid crowds. The more people around you, the more likely someone among them will be infected.