Which One is A Better Alternative For Precaution Of Covid-19, N95 Or Surgical Mask ?

April 03, 2020

Which One is A Better Alternative For Precaution Of Covid-19, N95 Or Surgical Mask ?

Please check the link below for the latest worldwide status of COVID-19
Since many viruses are spread by droplets, wearing a mask is a very simple and effective way to isolate the virus and prevent disease. There are many choices of masks in the market, and the design is not the same according to different USES. For the prevention of COVID-19, how to choose a suitable mask and how to wear a mask?


Masks were first appeared in hospitals at the end of the 19th century, until the Spanish flu in 1918, and thereafter gradually went into people's daily lives, became the first choice to prevent colds, air pollution, and others.
Masks on the market are generally divided into the following types, of which the ones that are marked red could be used as self-protection, influenza virus prevention masks:
  • The paper mask
  • Cotton/sponge mask
  • Activated carbon mask
  • Gauze masks
  • Surgical mask
  • N95 mask

    We will here put emphasis on the Surgical and N95 masks that are functional under the global wild spread of the COVID-19.


    Surgical Mask

    Surgical masks are usually used in an invasive operation, which can effectively prevent the direct passage of pathogens, microorganisms, body fluids, particles, etc. The filtration rate of masks on 0.1-micron particles is greater than 95%.

    Surgical masks usually have a structure of three layers, the outer layer and the inner layer are non-wovens fabric, and the middle part is made of melt-blown. The position of the nose clip is usually composed of a metal nose clip so that the mask fits closely with the nose and face.



    A surgical mask is a choice of self-protection against the COVID-19!


    N95 Mask

    The N95 respirator is a NIOSH certified mask. It does not refer to a specific type of mask, but to any mask that meets the N95 standard. The main function of the N95 mask is to filter suspended particles, virus particles, can effectively prevent respiratory tract infection, haze and so on. N95 masks can withstand more than 95% of the 0.3 microns above virus particles, three-dimensional modeling can be better close to the face.

    However, N95 mask also because of its relatively good protection, blocking airflow, easy to cause breathing difficulties, if the heart and lung function is not good or have respiratory diseases, not suitable for use. In addition, N95 masks are not recommended for children or people with excessive facial hair, according to the FDA.

    Picture quoted from @FDA 

    The FDA official website recommends the following N95 masks:

    • 3M™ Particulate Respirator 8670F
    • 3M™ Particulate Respirator 8612F
    • Pasture Tm F550G Respirator
    • Pasture Tm A520G Respirator
      But even if you can’t find the same type, it doesn't matter. As long as you meet the standard of N95 respirators, you can buy them.

      In addition, the medical standard of 3M N95 (1860/1860s) and the industrial standard of N95 (8210/8200) are of the same standard for the protection of bacteria, only the medical one is treated with the liquid release, mainly to prevent the sputtering of blood or body fluids during the operation. So industrial N95 should be enough for us to use on a daily basis.


      Must-knows of wearing N95 masks: 

      1. How often do you have to change N95?

      Masks have a certain service life, with the increase of use time, the particles from the filter will block the filter, do not change for a long time, can also make the internal growth of bacteria. Therefore, we should replace the mask in time to ensure the protective effect. However, there is no fixed replacement time for N95, because the personal use time, dust conditions and dust capacity of the mask are different, so it should be used for 4-24 hours according to the personal situation.

      2. Conditions that require an immediate replacement.

      • Damage on masks
      • Mask contaminated (with blood stains or droplets)
      • It is obvious that breathing resistance increases

      3. How to discard the mask?

      • The outside of the mask is folded like inside and put into a plastic bag to avoid contact with others. When the mask dries out, the virus dies.
      • Masks are not recyclable.
      • Before the discard can be cut to prevent secondary sale (some masks that are discarded look brand new).


      2. HOW TO WEAR A MASK?

      | Surgical Masks

      Steps for wearing a surgical mask:

      • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap or hand sanitizer, or use disinfectant to clean them.
      • According to the color to determine the positive and negative mask, colorless non-woven layer towards the face, the blue waterproof layer is outward, there is a metal nose clip side up, the mask hanging on the ear.

      Picture from @CPIAS copyright reserved.

      • Fold the mask up and down so that it covers the mouth, nose, and chin.

      Picture from @CPIAS copyright reserved.

      • Press the metal nose clip between your hands to fit the cotton outline.

      Picture from @CPIAS copyright reserved.

      • Adjust the mask so that the edges of the mask also fully fit the face.

      Picture from @CPIAS copyright reserved.

      • Surgical masks are disposable and need to be replaced every four hours!


      | N95 Masks

      • N95 masks because of its different structure, the wearing method is also slightly different from ordinary masks.
      • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap or hand sanitizer, or use disinfectant to clean them. There will be a sponge strip, or the colorless side facing itself. Place your mask under your chin.


      • Wear a mask and place the strap on top of your head and behind your head.


      • Press the metal strip on the mask to make it fit your face. Press and blow to check the tightness of the mask.



      Finally, here is the prevention summary about the virus summarized by QualisportsUSA Team and Bikonit Team, after consulting the Infectious disease prevention division in the hospital. We hope it will be helpful to everyone.

      1. Far away from the hospital (the place with the most patients is the hospital, especially the emergency department, fever clinic, respiratory medicine);

      2. As far as possible away from the crowded and closed environment such as supermarket fresh market restaurants;

      3. Try to avoid taking the subway bus and other closed vehicles;

      4. Basic hand hygiene and respiratory hygiene, wash your hands often and avoid close contact with and have a fever cough sneeze, for inevitably appeared on the scene, wearing disposable surgical masks (at least two layers) or N95 masks, disposable masks the longest 4 hours just need to change, or by steam soaking lost protective effect also need to be replaced.

      5. Pay attention to protection when going out and wear a mask. Try not to touch your face, not to rub your eyes, and not to take food directly. Wash hair, take a shower, wash clothes when going home, down jacket and so on is not convenient to wash every day, can hang the balcony the wind blows. Before the driver gets home, open all the Windows 10 minutes in advance and the wind blows.


      And this pill will be the best to stay away from the virus to any of its counterparts.

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