Different Types of Masks
Facemasks are fairly loosely fitting, disposable masks approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use as medical devices. Doctors, dentists, and nurses often wear them while treating patients.
These masks prevent large droplets of bodily fluids that may contain viruses from escaping via the nose and mouth. Facemasks also protect against splashes and sprays from others, such as those from sneezes and coughs.
The average masks you can buy from a local drugstore aren’t enough to filter out the virus. For that, experts recommend special masks with fine mesh that can capture very small organisms. These also have to be worn correctly for them to work.
Masks worn over the face are also unable to protect you from getting airborne virus particles, from a cough or a sneeze, into your eyes.
Respirators, also called N95 respirator masks, are designed to protect the wearer from small particles in the air that may contain viruses. They are certified by the CDC and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. The name comes from the fact that they can filter 95 percent of airborne particles, according to the
Respirators are selected to fit your face. They must form a perfect seal so that no gaps allow airborne viruses in. Healthcare workers use them to protect against airborne infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and anthrax. Unlike regular facemasks, respirators protect against both large and small particles.
Overall, respirators are considered much more effective at preventing the flu virus than regular facemasks. Still, studies have found benefits to both types of masks.