N95 maks are personal protective equipment that can be worn on a person’s face or head and that covers at least their mouth and nose.
N95 masks are designed to decrease the risk of inhaling dangerous airborne particles. When worn properly, the mask forms an airtight protection around the mouth and nose. N95 masks can filter any type of particles, including bacteria and viruses. They protect the wearer.
These masks are mainly used in health and medical establishments for health professionals and lab technicians.
Surgical or procedure masks are masks that are somewhat loose and do not form an airtight barrier against droplets, including respiratory particles of important size.
Most surgical or procedure mask do not filter all small airborne particles and do not form an airtight barrier, which means that droplets can escape when the mask wearer inhales. The main role of surgical or procedure masks is to control particles coming from infected people who cough and sneeze, in order to avoid contamination of the surrounding zone.
These masks do not protect people who wear them, but people around them.
Patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 must wear a surgical mask until they are isolated at the hospital or quarantined at home. However, these patients do not have to wear a mask in self-isolation at home.
Non-medical masks are masks that are handcrafted or were not tested for safety like other masks. Handcrafted masks are not considered medical equipment and are not regulated like medical masks or ventilators.
These masks should at least cover the nose and the mouth. They can be useful during short periods, when keeping physical distance is not possible for example at the grocery store or when using public transportation.
Caution is advised, because most of these masks are not designed to create an airtight barrier against the nose and the mouth, and their fabric is different from the one used for surgical masks, which sometimes make it difficult to breathe.
There’s no proof that wearing a non-medical mask or any homemade face covering in public protects the wearer. They do not replace physical distancing or thorough handwashing as a preventive measure. However, they can be used as an additional measure to protect those around you, even though you are not experiencing symptoms.
What features should I look for in a safe handcrafted mask?
Because they are not regulated, here are the features handcrafted masks should have for minimal protection:
Furthermore, a non-medical mask should NOT:
Given the current situation around COVID-19, inquire if face masks are available at your pharmacy before visiting your pharmacist.
Furthermore, your pharmacist remains available over the phone to answer any other concerns you might have about preventive measures, any symptoms you may experience and your medication. They can also provide advice on best practices to ensure you are using your mask properly, according to health and safety’s guidelines.
The information contained herein is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide complete information on the subject matter or to replace the advice of a health professional. This information does not constitute medical consultation, diagnosis or opinion and should not be interpreted as such. Please consult your health care provider if you have any questions about your health, medications or treatment.