More so now than ever, protecting those around you has become increasingly important. With Coronavirus on the rise, the Center for Disease Control has recommended that people wear masks whenever possible in public. The goal of the mask is to stop the spread of the virus and to protect the people that you come in contact with. This new normal comes with questions regarding masks. There are three different kinds of masks that have become extremely popular in the age of Coronavirus, but what are the differences between the three masks? Today, we will explore the differences between Surgical Masks, KN95 Masks, and Fabric Masks.

Surgical Masks

Surgical masks are commonly known as medical masks. They are loose-fitting, disposable masks that cover the nose and the mouth. Surgical masks are intended to be utilized by medical professionals and healthcare workers. Though surgical masks protect wearers from fluids, large droplets, splashes and sprays, they are not reliable for respiratory protection and do not provide protection from inhaling smaller airborne particles. Surgical masks must be discarded frequently, so having a sufficient supply is crucial.

Cloth/Fabric Masks

The Center for Disease Control has recommended that people wear cloth or fabric face masks when they are out in public. This recommendation is for those with and without symptoms of Coronavirus. Wearing fabric facemasks helps stop the spread of the virus and can protect both the wearer of the mask and those around them. They are loose-fitted and comfortable for the wearer. The CDC recommends fabric or cloth facemasks in public or any place that proper social distancing is hard to maintain. Cloth masks can be washed and reused. They are easy to obtain or make and help stop the spread of COVID-19 in the community.  While cloth masks can help prevent the spread of COVID-19, they are not considered PPE (personal protective equipment). The best way to stop the spread of Coronavirus is to wear your mask, maintain six feet or more of distance, and to reduce unnecessary trips or travel.

N95 Face Masks

N95 masks are technically considered to be respirators. They have the ability to filter out 95% of particles using static electricity. N95 masks are each tested for quality control and safety by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Unlike surgical masks and fabric or cloth masks, N95 masks are intended to be tight on the face and must be fit-tested for each individual. The N95 masks can filter out large and small particles, as well as some aerosols. The CDC says that N95 masks are extremely effective, but not intended for the general public. These masks are often reserved for first responders, healthcare workers, and other frontline workers.

In this time of uncertainty, it is important to do your part to protect your neighbor. Wearing a mask is one of the most important things that a person can do as we navigate these unprecedented times together.