Safety becomes the topmost priority when it comes to going outside amid the pandemic, and respirators and face masks have become the people’s protective equipment used to protect them from the COVID-19 virus.

There are many types of masks that are widely available in the market, and it is important to recognize the difference between these kinds of masks to wear, especially between N95 and surgical face masks. as each kind has its functions and limitations.

N95 Respirators

These masks are designed to closely fit the facial structure of a person and to efficiently filtrate airborne particles. This is why it is noticeable that the edges of these respirators are structured to form a tight seal around the mouth and nose. These masks are commonly used in hospitals and other healthcare contexts and are different kinds of Filtering Facepiece Respirators.


Because these masks provide a tight fitting around the nose and mouth, individuals who are suffering from cardiac, respiratory, and other medical conditions that are related to breathing difficulty may need to check with their healthcare provided before using the equipment as it reduces their ability to breathe conveniently.

All of these respirators are labeled as “single-use” masks. This means that these masks need to be disposed of after the first use and should never be used twice as it already has lost its ability to filter out airborne particles.

Some models of N95 have exhalation valves to reduce heat build-up inside and make breathing easier. Also, even with the existence of valves, it is still not advised to wear this kind of mask when the patient experiences health conditions.

If the respirator is damaged, discard it properly by putting in a bag, throwing it in the trash bin, and replace it with a new one.

These masks are not suitable for children or for individuals with facial hair. This is because the mask might not fit with children and with people with facial hairs, and cannot provide full protection.

Surgical Masks.

These masks, unlike the abovementioned kind, are loose-fitting. However, this mask is still effective in providing a protective barrier between the mouth and nose and the contaminants present in the environment of the user such as the COVID-19 virus. These masks are not to be shared with anyone and may come with or without a face shield.

These masks also come in different thickness and each has its own distinct ability to protect you from different contaminants and liquid as well as the convenience of breathing.

No matter what the thickness is, this mask is able to provide you full protection from large-particle splashes, droplets, and sprays that may contain bacteria and viruses, if worn properly. It also helps prevents you from protecting others from your saliva and other secretions to other people.

These masks are effective but not so efficient in providing protection from very small particles that are transmitted through sneezes, coughs, and other medical procedures, as it is loosely sealed compared to the N95 masks.

Final thoughts

The N95 is more protective when it comes to blocking very small articles, although the public is not really advised to use this, as these need to be provided to the medical practitioners. Also, the public is encouraged to wear surgical masks as they are effective and more convenient.