Due to the Coronavirus (Covid-19,SARS-CoV-2), Many people have asked us what's the difference between masks and respirators. We hope this post answers some of your questions.
Masks vs Respirators
Unbeknownst to many, there is a technical difference between a “mask” and a “respirator”. Today, most people say "mask", when referring to what are technically called respirators.
Uses for Masks:
- Masks are loose fitting, covering the nose and mouth
- Designed for one way protection, to capture bodily fluid leaving the wearer
- Example – worn during surgery to prevent coughing, sneezing, etc on the vulnerable patient
- Contrary to belief, masks are NOT designed to protect the wearer
- The vast majority of masks do not have a safety rating assigned to them (e.g. NIOSH or EN)
Uses for Respirators:
- Respirators are tight fitting masks, designed to create a facial seal
- Non-valved respirators provide good two way protection, by filtering both inflow and outflow of air
- These are designed protect the wearer (when worn properly), up to the safety rating of the mask
- Available as disposable, half face or full face
Surgical style masks are not redundant by any means they aren’t designed to protect the wearer, while respirators are.