Can Surgical Masks Protect Against Viruses?

Can Surgical Masks Protect Against Viruses?

Can Surgical Masks Protect Against Viruses?


Depending on the setting and usage, surgical masks can be suitable for slowing the spread of viral diseases. Surgical masks, also known as medical masks, are a loose, disposable mask that protects the nose and mouth from droplets and other harmful particles. Surgical masks reduce the wearer’s exposure to saliva and respiratory secretions, helping to protect against the transmission of diseases. But are surgical masks the best option for protecting against viruses? 


In the Medical Field


In medical settings, the CDC recommends that health care professionals wear N95 respirators instead of surgical masks. The risk of contracting a viral disease is much higher for healthcare professionals, so N95 masks are recommended as they are more effective at filtering out potentially harmful particles. While surgical masks do provide a protective barrier over the mouth and nose, their loose fit prevents them from sealing out small particles and droplets.


Outside of the Medical Field


While the FDA has not approved surgical masks for protection against viral diseases, these kinds of disposable medical masks offer some protection where N95 masks are not available. Compared to the average cloth mask, high-quality surgical masks can offer a similar level of protection. Surgical masks can thus be a suitable, disposable alternative to cloth masks, especially when proper sanitization of cloth masks is not available. 


Tips for Protecting Against Viruses

If you elect to use a surgical mask as face protection against viruses, it is best to dispose of each mask after use. Surgical masks should not be reused or shared with others. You can purchase boxes of surgical masks online with Ohana Medical Supply. For the best protection, mask usage should be combined with other preventative measures like diligent hand-washing and social distancing.

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