A mask can be either a single-use medical instrument, a surgical mask from Sydney or personal protective equipment (a “respirator”) worn by guardians and contagious patients. Relying on the type of mask, it protects against the transmission of infectious agents by “droplet” or “airborne” routes. Based on the average it meets and its defence class, it can control contamination by viruses such as coronavirus, SARS and H1N1.
How to select a surgical mask or respirator?
Several factors must be evaluated when choosing a mask, such as application, type of mask, level of defence needed, etc.
Patients and caregivers use a specific mask with certain protection status based on the profession, the domain of application, and the existence or absence of contagious illnesses.
The type of mask
the two main types commonly available in the market are “surgical” masks and “respirators.” They have different applications, standards and goals. The critical point to remember is that surgical masks only protect against infectious agents that can be transferred via “droplets”, while protective masks or respirators also shield against the inhalation of contagious components that “airborne” routes can transmit.
The level of protection required.
These masks are subject to varying standards and regulations in different countries. There are other devices within these standards to specify the degree of protection. Refer to the rules in your geographical area.
Disposable or reusable
Surgical masks are available as disposable as one can use them only once. Respirators can be reusable. In the case of respirators, it is feasible to replace the filter once it is filled.
The duration of a mask’s efficacy varies according to use and purpose. On average, it can be between three and eight hours. A cheaper cover can work a short period of use. The manufacturer systematically indicates this on the packaging.
There are different sizes of masks, flexible to the morphology of the individual who will be wearing them. Protective masks or respirators can also be provided with an exhalation valve to improve user convenience. Some masks also protect the eyes if eye security is required. These are called full-face respirators or masks.
Why choose a surgical mask?
A medical or surgical mask is a single-use medical device. It protects against infectious agents transferred by “droplets.” Regardless, it does not protect against “airborne” contagious agents. Thus, it will not prevent the wearer from being potentially contaminated by a virus.
A surgical mask does two things:
- When the wearer exhales, it prevents droplets of saliva or secretions from the upper respiratory tract. Suppose used by the caregiver, this mask shields the patient and their surroundings (air, surfaces, equipment, surgical site). If worn by an infected patient, it prevents them from contaminating their surroundings and environment.
- It shields the wearer from infection transmitted by “droplets” or the risk of splashes of bodily fluids. In the second case, the surgical mask must have a waterproof coating. One can get them with a visor to protect the eyes.
Why choose a respirator?
A respirator is a kind of personal protective gear. It shields the wearer from breathing aerosols (dust, smoke, mist) and vapours or gases (disinfectants, anesthetic gases) hazardous to health. It also covers the wearer from airborne infectious factors, i.e. against viruses like coronavirus, SARS, H1N1, etc.
Respirators are segregated into two categories: insulating (which are not covered in this buying guide) and filtering.
Filtering respirators consist of a facepiece and a filtering apparatus. At times, the filter element is converted into the facepiece. Based on the type of filter, the mask will either be effective against particles, against certain gases and vapours or particles, gases and vapours.
You can select either a surgical face mask from Sydney or respirators according to your use.