A medical mask is a loose-fitting, disposable device that creates a physical barrier between the mouth and nose of the wearer and potential contaminants in the immediate environment. An N95 respirator is a respiratory protective device designed to achieve a very close facial fit and very efficient filtration of airborne particles. Surgical N95 Respirators are commonly used in healthcare settings and are a subset of N95 Filtering Face-piece Respirators, often referred to as N95s.
People with chronic respiratory, cardiac, or other medical conditions that make breathing difficult should check with their health care provider before using an N95 respirator because the N95 respirator can make it more difficult for the wearer to breathe. Some models have exhalation valves that can make breathing out easier and help reduce heat build-up. Note that N95 respirators with exhalation valves should not be used when sterile conditions are needed.
N95 respirators are not designed for children or people with facial hair. Because a proper fit cannot be achieved on children and people with facial hair, the N95 respirator may not provide full protection. In this case, using a disposable or medical mask is recommended.
Most N95 respirators are manufactured for use in construction and other industrial-type jobs that expose workers to dust and small particles. They are regulated by the National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL) in the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), which is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
The N95, KN95, FFP2 respirators have almost the same filtration efficiency. The main difference between these respirators is that they are tested by different nations.
The N95 respirators are certified by the U.S. National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) with a tested 95% filtration. The KN95 respirator is a particulate-filtering mask tested with China’s criteria. The FFP2 is a filtering face-piece score of 94% filter capacity tested by Europe.
A face shield can provide additional protection to other facial areas that safety glasses or goggles cannot. Face shields are considered to be a secondary protector and must always be worn over protective safety glasses or goggles. To provide better face and eye protection, a face shield should have crown and chin protection and wrap around the face to the point of the ear. Disposable face shields for medical personnel made of light weight films that are attached to a surgical mask or fit loosely around the face should not be relied upon as optimal protection. They will protect the eyes and all parts of the face.
Protective goggles form a protective seal around both eyes where the material is tight or flush to the face.
When deciding between nitrile and vinyl gloves, it can be confusing trying to determine which type of glove is ideal for you.
Nitrile gloves are made out of synthetic rubber, and are an ideal alternative when latex allergies are of concern. Nitrile gloves are the superior glove when it comes to puncture resistance. Nitrile gloves are often referred to as “medical grade”.
Nitrile gloves are much more resistant than Vinyl gloves but are more expensive. The biggest differences are in elasticity and mechanical resistance. For this reason, vinyl gloves are less sensitive and break more easily, even with a simple finger press.
Gowns, Covers, & Coveralls
Disposable isolation gowns are protective articles used by medical personnel to avoid exposure to blood, body fluids, and other infectious materials, or to protect patients from infection. The gown isolates and prevents both medical personnel from being infected or contaminated and prevents the patient from being infected. Disposable surgical gowns play a two-way protective role during the operation.
The surgical gown establishes a barrier between the patient and the medical staff to reduce the probability of medical personnel contacting the patient's blood or other body fluids during the surgical procedure. Second, the surgical gown can block the colonization/adhesion of the medical staff's skin or clothing.
The levels of protection of each gown provide as the levels increase, for a specific purpose. Level 3 Isolation Gowns provide the most protection; it is Anti-fluid, Anti-Alcohol, Anti-blood, and Anti-static. The level 1 gown is usually used for basic care, standard isolations, usually for Visitors. The greater the level, the more ideal it is for healthcare providers and employees.