Myth & Facts About Masks

There are two types of masks:

  1. Cloth mask

  2. Surgical mask

Mask has loose fit, it doesn’t seal nose & mouth snugly.

During respiration air moves along the edges of the mask, while respirator has tight seal & most of the times air passes only through its material after filtration.

According to the efficiency of filtration these are usually graded as- 95, 99 & 100.

Means these respirator masks are capable of traping 95%, 99% & 99.9% of particles, smaller upto 0.3 micron size.

This grading can also be done as

  1. P1 (FFP1) – 80%
  2. P2 (FFP2) – 95%
  3. P3 (FFP3) – 99.95%

Filtration efficiency.

That valve is nothing but a simple exhalation port with one way valve mechanism, it reduces effort of expiration, reduce heat inside the mask, dissipate humidity & reduce 2 the amount of from the dead space of mask.

It can vary between 10-90% according to the manufacturer.

Cloth is a woven material thus pore size is bigger than surgical mask which is made up of non-woven polypropylene material thus cloth mask is less effective than surgical mask in terms of filtration efficiency.

Yes these can be used routinely.

Few studies done on normal population concluded that the use of simple mask can decrease the incidence of flu up to 75%.

Few east Asian countries following this practice of routine use of mask.

  • For the normal population, any type of mask is not required, maintaining the social distance & hand hygiene are the sufficient.
  • Sick person should wear surgical mask.
  • Any person who is taking care of sick person should also wear the surgical mask.
  • N95 mask should be used by the person who is potential to get expose with the respiratory secretions of the infected patient. e.g. During the Endotracheal intubation, CPR, Ventilation, Bronchoscopy & Tracheostomy.

N- 95
N- 99
N- 100

are the respirators.

No, respirators are graded according to their filtration efficiency. They are according to:

  1. filter type used.
  2. type of materials used
  3. additional features

They are of different types.

N – not oil proof

R – oil resistant

P – oil proof

(E.g. N95 is not oil proof)

Surgical mask or procedure mask is the most common mask used by health workers.

It is not designed to protect wearer from inhaling the air born bacteria & viruses.

It is used to block only large particle droplets, splashes, sprays, or splatter.

It also reduces the exposure of wearer’s saliva & respiratory secretions to others. Surgical mask also remind wearer not to touch their mouth/nose which could otherwise transfer virus/bacteria after having touched a contaminated surface.

Mask should be certified by the NIOSH (National institute for occupational safety & health) Or

NPPTL (National personal protective technology laboratory)

No, it is not advisable. Each extra layer adds only 2% of extra protection on the cost of comfort.

Cloth mask can be reused after washing.

– Surgical mask should be discarded after single use or after soiled

– Respirator mask should be discarded when resistance of breathing get increased or get soiled.

Viruses/bacteria’s can grow & flourish inside the reused mask.