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Guide to Using N95 Respirator vs Surgical vs Homemade Masks during COVID-19

The importance of wearing face masks for preventing transmission of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is essential. The WHO recommends the use of face masks in communities and health care settings during home care in areas that have reported a spurt in the case of the novel coronavirus. While there are so many different types of face masks available in the market it can be difficult to select the appropriate one. Check out the different types of face masks and when should you use one.

When should you use a face mask?

You need to wear a face mask when you are travelling outside or stepping out of your home to buy goods and essentials including groceries. Also if you are taking care of a sick person or a person coronavirus infected person then also you should wear at least a 3-layer mask or N-95 mask. This might help in containing the spread of virus and germs. And if you use face masks in combination with the hand hygiene by washing hands or using a sanitizer along with respiratory hygiene by wearing face masks, it will help in containing the spread of virus infection.

Are face masks helpful in preventing the spread of coronavirus?

COVID-19 or coronavirus spreads from one person to another through the discharge of droplets from the nose or mouth while sneezing or coughing. If you inhale these droplets, you can catch the virus infection. Also, if you touch surfaces or objects where these droplets might have fallen, and then you touch your face, mouth, eyes, or nose, it can lead to the contraction of the virus. There are different types of face masks that are available such as N95 respirator masks, surgical masks, or the homemade face masks.

Difference between Homemade Cloth Mask, Surgical Masks, and N95 Respirators:

To solve this confusion all the three type of masks are explained in detail below. Their effectiveness, protection offers, and functionality in different environments is important to understand. Check out the details as mentioned below:

Understanding the N95 Respirator Mask

The N95 respirator mask is mostly recommended to contain the spread of Coronavirus across the world. In comparison to other masks it has tight-fitting and can filter 95% of viruses and bacteria that are small particles causing transmission of the disease.

How does N95 Respirator Mask Works?

N95 Respirator Mask works as a barrier to large droplets from an infected person’s mouth and restricts the transmission in several ways as listed under:

  • It restricts the contamination of COVID-19 viruses
  • N95 Respirator Mask offers protection by prohibiting the inhalation of smoke, mist, or dust
  • The mask can easily filter up to 0.3 microns particles and even larger
  • The mask is reusable after washing
  • It is slightly expensive because it helps in protecting viral outbreaks
  • N95 Respirator Mask is tested and approved by NIOSH

Understanding a Surgical Mask?

Surgical masks are preferable for daily use as they are disposable and have a loose-fitting. It is recommended to buy a 3-layered surgical mask that covers your nose, mouth, and chin. These masks are used by healthcare professionals.

How does a Surgical Mask Works?

Use of surgical mask is approved by the US FDA. It is cost-effective and helps in the air-borne transmission of viruses or bacteria. By wearing this mask you can ensure protection against spreading of COVID-19 to others:

  • Saliva sprays or slashes
  • Large particle droplets
  • Viral outbreaks
  • Saliva droplets
  • Biological fluids

Surgical masks are available in different sizes and shapes and are available everywhere. The online limitation is that you cannot use them again and they might not protect against airborne infectious diseases. But they do offer preliminary protection against the spread of coronavirus.

Are Homemade Cloth Face Masks Recommended?

Similar to the surgical masks, homemade face masks also offer protection against the spread of COVID-19. They can easily be made at home using cloth fabric. They are also available in different sizes and prints. They offer limited protection but are useful in limiting the spread of coronavirus. It is essential to wash and dry the face mask every time you reuse it. 

Benefits of Homemade Cloth Face Masks:

It helps in filtering out 50% of illness causing viruses and bacteria’s. Some of the other benefits of cloth made face masks are given below:

  • Less Costly
  • Reusable and washable
  • Handy during emergencies
  • Acts as a shield against splashes, large droplets, and sprays

However, these homemade face masks are not advisable for healthcare professionals or those in direct contact with coronavirus affected persons or working in COVID-19 facility. They are required to wear the prescribed N-95 masks only, which is a part of the PPE Kit as well.

For anyone taking coronavirus treatment in a hospital the cost of masks is additional and may not be borne by the insurer. Therefore, there are health plans that have been launched like corona Kavach health plan and corona Rakshak health plans that cover the cost of PPE kits, masks, gloves, oximeters, etc. so make sure that you wear a face mask as per the guidelines and have an adequate health insurance cover to enjoy full protection from COVID-19 pandemic.

The Bottom Line:

It is recommended to wear a surgical and N95 respirator masks by healthcare professionals or anyone who needs to visit a medical facility frequently or treat a sick person. A face mask can be worn in routine public settings along with social distancing norms. If you wear the right kind of face mask and follow ways of COVID-19 prevention methods it is possible to combat the outbreak. If there are not many people around you, you can also wear handkerchiefs or cloth mask to cover your face.

Written By: PolicyBazaar - Updated: 07 December 2020
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Disclaimer: Policybazaar does not endorse, rate or recommend any particular insurer or insurance product offered by an insurer.

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