What You Need to Know about Surgical Masks, N95 Masks and The Coronavirus: FluShields Has Some Answers

A team working together wearing respiratory masks

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There’s a lot of misinformation going around about how and when to use masks to minimize the spread of the new coronavirus. We collected some expert insights for you from governmental sources to keep you informed.

Here's the quick rundown: Surgical masks are designed for catching large and small droplets released by sneezes, coughs, sudden bursts when laughing and sniffles. The masks are best for catching drops that leave a sick person's body, which means their true use is really for keeping your germs to yourself.

And might we add that self-made do-it-yourself masks from old T-Shirts or any other cloth, and filters made from leftover vacuum cleaners filter bags are not protective against polluted air of any measure by a long shot. It just makes you feel better and as the saying goes: "You get what you pay for".

When surgeons wear them in the operating room, they are trying to prevent germs from landing in a patient. In densely populated cities, like Hong Kong or Tokyo, surgical masks are often worn out of politeness by people with mild illnesses. If everybody wears a mask, the safer you are against catching a disease. Wearing a mask is quite common in Asia, but it looks kind of strange in western worlds like the US or Europe. Anyhow, the quicker we all get used to wearing a mask being in bigger crowds the more protected we will be in the future.

If you are healthy, an N95 mask helps you not infecting others or not getting infected by others.


Good news: You can increase protection from airborn bacteria and viruses by wearing an FFP3 or N95 respiratory mask. Join our rewards programm and share the news with your friends: Get your N95 respirator masks for the whole family today.


Please be aware: Floating sneeze droplets can still get around the sides of loose surgical masks.

How do surgical masks work?
Surgical masks are made of three layers: an outer veil, a layer of nonwoven filtration fabric and an inner veil. The two veils protect the filter fabric from abrasion. The filter fabric is made of millions of microfibers layered on top of each other. These microfibers have been permanently electrostatically charged. An electrical field ionizes the air and then forces the ions deep into the microfibers. This charge allows the material to filter out way more junk, germs, and viruses than it otherwise would.


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What are N95 respirator masks?
N95 respirator masks can use similar filtration material as surgical masks but usually with more layers and are much tighter. N95 masks are supposed to fit tightly to the face and block out most particles. Facial hair and an improper fit can expose the wearer to airborne viruses. A properly made and fit N95 will stop 95% of particles.

Interestingly enough, not all N95 respirators are made for the same purpose. Not every respirator is built to filter out disease-causing pathogens. The 'N' means the mask is built to catch non-oily particles. It does not mean it will work on everything, but against small viruses like a Coronavirus (Covid-19), it may offer you added protection.

Many masks on the market have not been tested by National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NOISH), the federal organization that works with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to certify respirators for health use. But an official 'N95' mask has been tested, which means: if a mask is named type 'N95' then it is an 'N95' tested‘ mask!

Good news: You can actually protect yourself from viruses by wearing an FFP3 or N95 respiratory mask: Get your N95 respirator masks for the whole family today.

Buying respirators online is relatively safe: if you order a N95 mask or an FFP2 or FFP3 respirator (for Europeans), you will get the tested product. Delivery may take a little longer nowadays since the demand is up by 800% worldwide until the mask arrives, but it is worth waiting - this time it is just the Corona Virus, next time it will be something else you need protection from.  

But be aware: For the MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome), which is closely related to COVID-19, scientists found that that thing could survive as long as a week on surfaces. COVID-19 is thought to spread mostly through direct contact with infected, symptomatic people and droplets from coughs or sneezes. While it is not yet clear how long the new coronavirus can survive on surfaces, it’s still
risky to reuse a respirator or mask. We recommend to wash it at least weekly and change the filters daily!

Remember: If you do wear a mask, the mask is only a tool. It does not substitute for practical hygienic habits like proper handwashing. Learn proper hand hygiene and wash your hands regularly!

Check out our next post about hygiene tips against a virus like the Corona Virus.

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Disclaimer: Please note that FluShields can only pass on general information and cannot make any guarantees or be liable for any consequences of your decision making or behavior. Use good common sense and ask your health care provider or physician for advice.


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