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What is a respirator?
A respirator is a personal protective device that is worn on the face or head and covers at least the nose and mouth. A respirator is used to reduce the wearer’s risk of inhaling hazardous airborne particles (including infectious agents), gases or vapors. Respirators, including those intended for use in healthcare settings, are certified by the CDC/NIOSH.
What is an N95 filtering facepiece respirator (FFR)?
An N95 FFR is a type of respirator which removes particles from the air that are breathed through it. These respirators filter out at least 95% of very small (0.3 micron) particles. N95 FFRs are capable of filtering out all types of particles, including bacteria and viruses.
What is a Surgical N95 respirator and who needs to wear it?
A surgical N95 (also referred as a medical respirator) is recommended only for use by healthcare personnel (HCP) who need protection from both airborne and fluid hazards (e.g., splashes, sprays). These respirators are not used or needed outside of healthcare settings. In times of shortage, only HCP who are working in a sterile field or who may be exposed to high velocity splashes, sprays, or splatters of blood or body fluids should wear these respirators, such as in operative or procedural settings. Most HCP caring for confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients should not need to use surgical N95 respirators and can use standard N95 respirators.If a surgical N95 is not available for use in operative or procedural settings, then an unvalved N95 respirator may be used with a faceshield to help block high velocity streams of blood and body fluids.
Who should wear what kind of mask?
Medical masks are recommended for the following groups: All health workers in clinical settings. See our guidance for more information on the use of personal protective equipment by health care workers.Anyone who is feeling unwell, including people with mild symptoms, such as muscle aches, slight cough, sore throat or fatigue.People caring for suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 outside of health facilities. When they cannot guarantee a distance of at least 1 metre from others, medical masks are also recommended for the following groups, as they are at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill with COVID-19 and dying: People aged 60 or over.People of any age with underlying health conditions, including: chronic respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, cancer, obesity, immunocompromised patients and diabetes mellitus. Non-medical, fabric masks are advised for use by the general public when physical distancing cannot be maintained, as part of a comprehensive ‘Do it all!’ approach, including improving ventilation; cleaning hands; covering sneezes and coughs, and more.