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What is the difference between a Surgical Mask and Respirator Mask?
A surgical mask is a disposable medical device that can be bought in a pharmacy/chemist and protects against infectious agents transmitted by “droplets.” These droplets can be droplets of saliva or secretions from the upper respiratory tract when the wearer exhales.
If worn by the caregiver, the surgical mask protects the patient and his or her environment (air, surfaces, equipment, surgical site). If worn by a contagious patient, it prevents the patient from contaminating his or her surroundings and environment. These masks should not be worn for more than 3 to 8 hours.
But a surgical mask does not protect against “airborne” infectious agents so it will not prevent the wearer from being potentially contaminated by a virus such as the coronavirus.
A respirator mask is personal protective equipment that prevents the wearer from inhaling aerosols (dust, smoke, mist) as well as vapours or gases (disinfectants, anaesthetic gases) that are health hazards. Unavailable in pharmacies, it protects the wearer from airborne infectious agents i.e. against contamination by a virus such as coronavirus, SARS, H1N1, etc.
What are the Standards?
In Europe, they must meet the European standard EN 149: 2001 which has three classes of disposable particulate respirators (FFP1, FFP2 and FFP3).
Which masks protect against Corona Virus?
A contagious patient should wear a surgical mask as soon as contagion is suspected.
In Europe, it is necessary to wear a respirator of at least class FFP2 or FFP3 for maximum filtration of particles and aerosols when caring for a patient who is infected or suspected of being so.
Due to the scarcity of masks available to the general public due to the Corona Virus, the brand of mask may be different to the one shown. However please be assured that all masks conform to FFP2 standard
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