Introduction to types of medical masks

Face masks or medical masks are personal protective tools used to prevent or to limit the spread of respiratory infections that can be transmitted through the liquid droplets or aerosols.

Medical face masks vary in size, shape, effectiveness, and function but they all create a physical barrier between the wearer and the environment. however, the potential to block germs from reaching the nose and mouth depends on multiple factors, notably the design of the face mask and the rate of exposure to infected aerosols from the outside.

Medical mask

Not all face masks are similar, for instance, the N95(the N stands for not resistant to oil and 95 means that the mask can filter 95% of inhaled particles in the air) is used by health workers to protect themselves when around infected individuals, while simplesurgical masks are mainly used by surgeons and sick people to avoid infecting others.

Thus different masks are destined to be used by different people at different times and in different conditions, so what are the types of medical masks and which masks offer better protection?

There are two main types of medical masks, surgical masks, and respirators.

What is a surgical mask and who need to wear a surgical mask ?

Surgical mask

A surgical mask is a disposable device that fits loosely around the wearer's nose and mouth. It can be bought in a pharmacy or easily made at home.

People who should wear surgical mask are:

  • Health professionals throughout surgery, and in certain medical procedures.
  • Contagious individuals, who have symptoms of a respiratory tract infection (fever, cough, shortness of breath, etc.)

If worn correctly. a surgical mask helps to protect from splashes, sprays, and large-particle droplets. However, it cannot protect the wearer from small particles carried by coughs and sneezes.

What is a respirators mask and who need to wear a respirators mask ?

Respirators mask

Respirators are masks that fit the face firmly, and they are of two categories: insulating and filtering masks. In addition to large airborne particles, the N95 respirators filter 90% of small particles and thus offer higher protection against viruses and bacteria.

Individuals who should wear respirators are:

  • People working with dust and mold.
  • Health care workers in contact with infected individuals.

In the next article, we will discuss how to make a mask at home.

Written by: sara6anfal