Is a surgical face mask better? Experts on Surgical, Cloth and N95 masks

  • Comparing the KN95, the N95, a surgical face mask, and cloth mask could be overwhelming, and deciphering the best option can be tough.
  • As the virus is on the rise double masking has become a common practice.
  • We have listed the views of many medical experts on the difference and the benefits of these masks.

As the second wave of the COVID-19 virus hitting hard in the country and the third wave coming in, this virus is here to stay. The distribution of vaccines has surely been effective in controlling the coronavirus but still one of the most worked out solutions has been to wear a face mask .

N95 vs. KN95
The Surgical Face Mask Manufacturer is making several options for the market these bays but according to a research article in the medical journal, science advance. full, well fitted, non-valved N95 masks provide the highest level of protection and is the best option to choose from right now.

What is the difference between N95 and KN95 face mask?
The chief advantage to the KN95 or the N95 masks is that they filter almost 95% of aerosol particulate matter. Both these masks are made from numerous synthetic physical layers and should be worn hugging the mouth and the nose. By wearing the mask correctly, they both can filter out almost 95%of aerosol particulate matter that could be a carrier of the novel coronavirus.
However, the only difference between these two is that the N95 is approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), which is an organization responsible for regulating masks in the U.S.

Dr. Ting Ting Wong, internist and infectious disease specialist at New York-Presbyterian Medical Group Brooklyn said “The KN95 has not been approved by NIOSH”. According to him, the mask has been approved in China. The United States has a very rigorous process for approval and the mask has not cleared it yet.

ECRI reviewed KN95 masks in September 2020 and found that nearly 70% of these produced in China did not meet the filtering requirements given by NIOSH. Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency physician at Lenox Hospital, New York suggests that it is important to know about the manufacturing details of the masks to know about the consequences of using that mask.

Moreover, you must know about the experience of the other hospitals and people with that mask. This can work in the case of KN95 as does not meet the U.S. standards but it might be suitable to protect against the coronavirus.

But the most important point to keep in mind is that none of these masks will be effective if not worn properly.

According to the leading Surgical Face Mask Manufacturer, it is vital to learn the procedure of wearing a face mask correctly. Even a N-95 is effective when it tightly seals and hugs your mouth and nose. This should be specially taken care of if you are a healthcare worker who may have a risk of being in close contact with COVID-19 patients.

N95s vs. surgical
In case you don’t have access to an N95 mask, a surgical face mask is the next best option. Fauci adds that the more effective way is to double mask these surgical masks.

Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source has laid down many differences between surgical masks and the N95 masks:

  • The NIOSH is responsible for testing and approval of N95 masks whereas the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves the surgical face masks.
  • Surgical masks are used to protect against droplets or sprays of hazardous or bodily fluids. However, if you are looking for a way to block tiny particle aerosols or large droplets, go with the N95 masks.
  • Surgical masks are loose-fitting, on the other hand, N95 fits tightly, only if you wear them properly.
  • You don’t need a fit-testing for a Surgical mask but N95 does have a fit-testing prerequisite.
  • Surgical masks do not need user seal checks whereas N95s need to have a requirement for seal checks.
  • N95 filters out more than 95% of airborne particles but a surgical mask will not provide you with consistent levels of protection in case of your exposure to tiny airborne particles.
  • A surgical mask leaks near the brink of the mask when you inhale. When properly used an N95 has negligible leakage.

According to Wong surgical masks are highly effective and he agrees with Dr. Fauci’s suggestion on double masking. Also, he prefers wearing a cloth mask as there is a lot of variety available in the market but for the general public, he suggests that surgical masks will suffice.

Cloth masks vs. N95
The last and most easily available option is cloth masks. A cloth mask is not tested or controlled and each one of them gives different levels of filtration from particles.

Generally, cloth masks are preferred over no masks at all. To have maximum levels of protection double masking using a surgical mask or a properly worn N95 is preferred.

According to Dr. Eric Cioe-Pena, director of global health at Northwell Health in New Hyde Park, New York, a cloth mask is the most permeable and thus gives the least protection. But it is much better to use it rather than going out without a mask. The best mask is the one that you wear when you go out, he added. A KN95 is of no use if you keep taking it on and off every not and then.

What about double masking?
It is an efficient way but according to Surgical Face Mask Manufacturer if you are wearing good quality 3-ply masks or N-95 masks then, there is no need to do that. Just make sure that it fits you well and have a tested viral filtration combined with comfortable breathability. And, if you wish to layer use a surgical mask with a cloth mask over it.

• Mask is a must whenever you step out.
• Whenever going to a public place like hospitals, markets, banks, parks, or offices.
• Wear it when travelling inside a public transport or a private vehicle as well.
• Face masks should be ditched while exercising or running.

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