Do Surgical Masks Really Protect You From Germs

Since the emergence of Corona virus in late 2019, it is rapidly spread throughout the world, and because of this deadly spread, till the time its cure is found, all the doctors can recommend is the precaution.

Along with the continuous reminders for social distancing and good hygienic lifestyles, the use of face masks is also endorsed on all levels. Primarily developed to reduce the risk of patient wound infection due to germs spread from clinicians, today’s masks are projected to protect the masses from this pandemic.

These days we often see different companies with their ads for KN95s, Homemade face masks, or Face Masks 3 Ply for sale, but we normally get confused in their effectiveness against COVID-19.

To understand the efficiency of these masks, we need to see their types first and the level of protection they might offer.

In medical terms, there are four stages of ASTM certification that surgical masks are categorized in, reliant on the level of safety they provide to the person wearing them:

  1. Minimum protection face masks are those homemade masks made of any type of cloth to become a basic screen against dust or any other dry particle.
  2. Level 1 face masks are they typical ear loops masks and are the over-all standard for both surgical and practical applications, with a fluid resistance of 80 mmHg. They are used in low-risk conditions where there will be no fluid, spray, or aerosol.
  3. Level 2 masks, with 120 mmHg fluid resistance, offer a barrier against light or moderate gases, fluid, and give reasonable protection against germs.
  4. Level 3 face masks are for possible heavy exposure to aerosol, fluid, and spray, with 160 mmHg fluid resistance and are used for maximum protection against any kind of germs, including the notorious Corona virus.

Now that you know about the different categories in the protection against different germs let’s compare them with the three general types of masks available in the market.

  1. Homemade cloth face mask
  2. Surgical mask
  3. N95 respirator

Let us explore each of them in a little more detail below.

Homemade Cloth Face Masks

Although to prevent the transmission of the virus from people without symptoms, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is now recommending that everyone wears face masks, such as a homemade face mask.

Still, homemade cloth masks do not offer you any protection against COVID-19 unless you’ve added an additional layer of the filter while making it. Also, this recommendation does not extend to the point when you are in public places where it is problematic to keep a 6-foot distance from others or cannot maintain proper hygiene practices.

Surgical Masks

Surgical masks can vary in design, but basically, it’s a flat, pleated or folded rectangular piece of nonwoven material with loops or end-bands in the corners.

Surgical masks are disposable, quite loose-fitting face masks that are typically used to protect the user from sprays, splashes, and large-particle droplets; and prevent the transmission of infectious respiratory droplets from the wearer to others with the help of its 3-ply protection.

The top of the mask comprises a metal strip that can be formed to your nose. They contain a filter sandwiched between the inner and outer layers, which increase its potential to strain and block corona virus transmission to a great level.

To meet the heavy demand from the buyers all around the globe, the pharmaceutical industry is now focusing more on producing Face Masks 3 Ply for sale.

N95 Respirators

Having more tight-fitting oval shape, and 7-ply design, this respirator can also filter out 95 percent of very small particles in addition to splashes, sprays, and large droplets.

This includes almost all kinds of viruses and bacteria. Some types come with the exhalation valve, which can help with breathing and the buildup of heat and humidity.

The tip for maximum protection with these masks is to tie the mask properly in order to seal your mouth and nose completely.

Are Surgical Masks Really Efficient Against Corona virus?

Surgical masks manufactured using fabrics like polypropylene with their multi-layered structure, generally by covering a layer of textiles with nonwoven bonded fabric on both sides, are made with three or four layers.

These throwaway masks are often made with two filter layers effective at filtering out elements such as bacteria above 1 micron. The filtration level of a surgical mask depends on multiple factors like the fiber, it’s manufacturing style, the web’s structure, and the fiber’s cross-sectional shape.

Masks are made on a machine line that collects the nonwovens from bobbins, ultrasonically joins the layers together, and stamps the masks with nose strips, ear loops, and other pieces.

There’s another point to be kept in mind that surgical masks are not the same as procedural masks with latter specially designed with the end-bands to filter out airborne particles such as viruses and bacteria and create a seal around the mouth and nose With all the above information before us, now we know that a surgical mask is effective to a great extent only if it has a three or four-layered structure containing one or two filters inside. So next time when you see a sign of Face Masks 3 Ply for sale, you are safe to go for them.

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