A particulate respirator is designed to protect you from airborne particles. It comes with various types of filter ratings to protect from all kinds of particles.
While a surgical mask acts more like a barrier blocking droplets and spit coming from the wearer. It is designed to prevent you from infecting others with whatever symptoms you might be experiencing. However, it can also be used to protect you from dust, pollen and air pollution.
They are typically designed with ear loops or a two-strap with welded dual point attachment to help provide a secure seal.
Medical or surgical face masks serve the same purpose. The terms are used interchangeably. They are resistant to aerosols, sprays and fluids.
Please note that medical masks are not designed to filter small virus particles. They are intended to block droplets from the wearer to prevent contaminating the environment. They are not to be shared, and should only be used once.
Surgical masks are also referred as disposable face masks. However, not all disposable face masks are regulated by the FDA. The regulated medical grade version is thicker by design and the face mask protects you from contact with liquid.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health agency, NIOSH, has classified respirators into different ratings based on the level of protection the respirator provides. You will often see N95, R95 or P95. The first letter (N, R and P) designates the type of particles it is designed to filter. N is used for non-oil-based particles while R & P are used around oil-based particles.
The number designation is the efficiency rating of the filter. For example, a N95 mask is a particulate respirator that can filter 95 Percent of most common non-oil particles. While a P100 respirator has a 99.99% filtration efficiency for oil-based particles.
The difference between a R95 and a P95 respirator is that the P rating is a better and stronger filter.
Just remember, depending on what you need them for, keep this in mind:
|Filtration Type||Filter Oil-Base Particles||Service Life Time|
KN95 respirators are the N95 equivalent for the Asian market and follow the GB2626-2006 standard. Due to the shortage of N95 filtering facepiece respirators, the Food and Drug Administration, FDA, issued the approval of KN95 mask as a suitable alternatives as of 04/03/2020.
To ensure authenticity and quality, make sure the KN95 face masks you are buying is FDA listed and CE certified.
PPE stands for Personal Protective Equipment. You will often hear professional refer disposable respirator masks as PPE. It is used to protect the wearer from airborne particles and from liquid contaminating the face. On the other hand, it is also designed to help the wearer from spreading the virus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, recommends the use of fabric face masks for the general public to slow the spread of the CoronaVirus. Keep in mind that they are not equivalent to N95 Respirators or surgical masks which should be reserved for the health care heroes. They are in short supply and critical supplies for the health care workers while caring for patients.
In the effort to control areas of significant community based transmission, it is recommended for all of us to continue practicing proper social distancing. It is critical to maintain a 6-feet distance between us in order to slowing the spread of the virus.
In the event you have to be in public settings or simply go to the grocery store, please be mindful and wear a cloth mask at the minimal.
For the sake of the public health and yours:
Stay Clean, Stay Healthy, and Stay Home.