Surgical Masks vs N95: Picking the Right Mask For the Task

Are Armbrust Surgical Masks N95? No they aren’t. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t effective tools when it comes to protecting yourself from COVID-19.

Surgical masks vs N95

N95 masks and surgical masks may not be the same, but they are very similar. The materials used to make them are the same and so is the way they filter out particulate matter like microscopic viruses and other airborne germs.

The main difference between the two masks is the way they seal around your face. A surgical mask has areas on the side of the mouth and near the nose where air can leak out.

Are Armbrust USA surgical masks N95?

No, they are not.

What is the difference between a surgical mask and an N95 mask?

Well, the difference is it's pretty simple. In fact, the material is very similar. The filtration is almost exactly the same, actually. But the difference is the seal. It’s the fit and the seal. So a surgical mask–obviously, when you’re wearing one–has, you know these kind of side areas. And you know some people have air leaking in and out in the top or the bottom.

An N95 mask doesn't allow that.

Why would you need a perfect seal with an N95 that you don't need for a surgical mask?

It depends on the circumstance, right? In a situation where there’s the risk of being virally infected, you know in a closed room with people who may have it. For example, if your job is to give COVID-19 tests, you should probably wear an N95 respirator. It just eliminates any chance of of air coming in from from any other place.

When should you wear an N95 Mask? 

If you are in an enclosed area where there is lots of potential risk for infection, then it would be better to wear a N95 surgical mask. An example of this would be a nurse or doctor conducting COVID-19 tests. The N95 respirator mask eliminates the chance of air flowing in from any direction except from within the mask itself.

N95 masks undergo regular stress tests using rather awkward looking contraptions that test precisely how much air goes in and out of the mask, too. One overlooked flaw in N95 masks is that if you have a beard, mustache, or other facial hair, the mask will not be as effective.

If you consult the many studies that compare effectiveness of N95 masks to surgical masks, the data bears out surgical masks being nearly as effective as their clunkier counterparts.

What are N95 fit tests?

It’s quite an event. What they do is they put a tube into the mask and what it's doing is it’s measuring how much air is getting in and staying around your face and how much air and particulates are coming on the outside of your face. And what that’s doing is teaching you how to take an off the shelf N95 respirator and make it fit to your face.

If you've got a beard or any kind of facial hair is wearing an N95 mask sort of a waste?

Yeah. I mean really. These things are all like percentages, right? I just look at the studies and the studies show, when you look at the actual real world data of people who have been closer than six feet working all the time with people who have had COVID-19, wearing a surgical mask, in most cases, is enough to protect you.