The CDC recommends that everyone wear masks in public places until further notice to slow the spread of COVID-19. However, not all masks are created equal. Here’s the scoop on different masks—including designer masks—and whether they can prevent COVID.
Different Types of Masks
During this pandemic, many people have become confused about what types of masks are most helpful for preventing the spread of disease. To help you make well-informed decisions when it comes to purchasing and wearing masks, here’s what you should know about the different types of masks.
N90 Masks and Respirators
N90 respirators, which include N95 and N99 models, are capable of filtering out large and small particles in the air. These masks are designed to trap respiratory droplets from infected people and prevent those droplets from spreading to others. Here are a few basic features and details about N95 respirators:
- Tested and approved by NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)
- Filter out at least 95% of particles in the air
- Reduce wearer’s exposure to small and large droplets (non-oil aerosols)
- Fit tightly around the face
- Should be discarded after each patient encounter if possible
- Minimize leakage around edges due to tight fit
In February of 2020, the United States Surgeon General urged the public not to purchase or wear N95 masks. The general public was told that such masks were ineffective against COVID-19. However, that advice has since been rolled back and we have been told that N95 masks can, in fact, minimize the spread of the virus but should be reserved for health care workers who need them most.
Due to a limited supply of N95 masks and respirators, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated in March that surgical masks can be used in place of N95 masks for the time being. Here are a few things you should know about surgical masks:
- Cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
- Do not provide the wearer with reliable protection against inhaling small airborne particles, but may limit the spread of disease when worn by an infected person
- Fit loosely around the face
- Are disposable and should be discarded after each patient encounter
- Allow leakage around edges due to loose fit
Though surgical masks cannot eliminate or filter out infectious particles, they can still provide limited protection to wearers. However, like N90 masks, the CDC is recommending that the general public wear cloth masks so surgical masks can be reserved for healthcare workers and other first responders.
Currently, the CDC is recommending that all members of the general public wear cloth masks. These are often referred to as designer masks because they come in a variety of colorful patterns and styles. These masks are more effective at blocking outgoing germs than incoming germs, which is why it’s so important for everyone to wear them.
Create a Customized Mask Order
At Vox MG, we’re doing our part to help slow the spread of disease by providing quality masks to businesses and individuals. We can customize your mask order to meet the needs of your staff or outdoor sales team. To learn more, get in touch with us today.