Several companies are doing their best to get into the production of mask-making since hospitals and public officials are in dire need of protective gear (e.g., surgical masks). These accessories are however needed by medical workers dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
All medical professionals use surgical masks daily to protect themselves against the risk of infection. Also, consumer demand for these medical accessories spikes anytime news surfaces about the spread of deadly bacteria and viruses.
However, it is vital to note that not all masks are created properly as some do not even offer protection at all. As a result, this article aims to provide information on CDC-approved suppliers of surgical masks, and also provides you with some background information on masks.
What are the Safest Surgical Masks to Use?
Some masks are created for higher-risk environments than others. However, it’s essential to know that wearing of mask alone will not completely prevent someone from COVID-19. Face masks, gloves, and other PPE are all required together to protect the wearer. Some important basic practices like social distancing, washing of hands, and avoiding touching the face need to be observed too. As much as we also need face masks to protect ourselves, we need to reserve the most protective masks for the healthcare workers, who spend most of their time in places with the highest risk of transmission.
Surgical masks are designed for lower-risk medical situations. They are also created to prevent the wearer from infections, viruses, or germs. Due to their loose fit to the face, infections may still get around the edges of the mask and enter the nose and mouth. Also, surgical masks do not provide a similar level of protection as an N95. The filtering pores in the mask aren’t adequately small to prevent viruses. These masks protect their wearer from large droplets, splashes, spray and also stops them from spreading disease pathogens to other people.
N95 respirator masks (It filters out 95% of small particles) are created for use in the highest-risk environments, like operating rooms or other situations where sprays and aerosols containing the virus are usually emitted. N95s offers the most effective protection against illness as they prevent viruses and bacteria from getting to the wearer.
These masks usually seal the area around the face totally when accurately worn and it's fitted. However, this makes often makes breathing quite challenging due to its design. Annual training and fit tests are required to make sure the wearer uses them properly. Untrained users may find it difficult to fit them accurately to their faces, or probably impair the seal by adjusting it wrongly. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommends N95 or P100 filters (it blocks about 99.9% of .3 micron+ particles) for initial responders that are dealing with the disease. Not every N95 respirator is designed for surgery.
Cloth masks are suitable for lower-risk environments that not within any medical facilities. They are recommended for non-medical people use by the CDC. These masks don't possess sufficient fine weaves to filter out viruses, but they can prevent infections from spreading via coughing or sneezing. Also, they can be used over surgical masks or respirators to assist in preserving other masks. Non- medical people are recommended to wear these masks when they are in places where it’s hard to stay six feet apart. But, you must washcloth masks frequently because the moisture from a person’s breath can breed germs in the cloth over time.
Manufacturers of CDC Approved N95 Respirators
Listed below are the names of the top 5 brands responsible for surgical mask production
- Honeywell: They have their headquarters in Santa Ana, CA. They supply filters, non-disposable respirators, and cartridges as well as half, and flat fold disposable N95 masks with and without valves. Also, they provide protection products for vapors and gas, chemicals, airborne particulates, welding, and contamination.
- 3M: They are situated in St. Paul, MN. They produce surgical masks, with attached face shields and N95 respirators. The company provides other surgical supplies such as skin prep, scrub, antimicrobial dressing tape, closures, drapes, and post-operative dressing.
- Kimberly-Clark Corporation: They are situated in Irving, TX. They offer N95 masks, procedural, surgical, filter, children’s masks face veils, and pleated.
- Makrite: They have the most private label options on this list. They produce industrial masks (both disposable and reusable types), and surgical masks, with those with N95 respirators. They are based out of Taiwan.
- Shanghai Dasheng Health Products Manufacture Company is situated in Shanghai, China. The company produces goggles, N99 and NIOSH regulation N95 masks, medical masks, and so on.