COVID-19 Outbreak: Surgical Face Masks

Unlike face coverings, surgical face masks are manufactured to a recognized standard and can be effective in blocking splashes and large-particle droplets.

Moreover, both face coverings and surgical masks do not provide complete protection from germs (viruses and bacteria) and other small contaminants in the immediate environment because of the loose fit between the surface of the mask or covering and your face.

You may notice that the edges of surgical masks are not designed to form a seal around the nose and mouth.

surgical face mask

Surgical face masks are not to be shared and are normally designed to be worn in medical settings to limit the spread of infection. If worn properly, a surgical face mask is meant to help block large-particle droplets, splashes, sprays or splatter from reaching your mouth and nose. They also protect patients from the wearer’s respiratory emissions.

If your mask is damaged or soiled, or if breathing through the mask becomes difficult, you should discard it safely and replace it with a new one. Do not forget to wash your hands after handling the used mask.


The particle capturing capacity of the filter (nonwoven mats of fine fibers) used in modern surgical masks largely depends on its fiber diameter, porosity, thickness, etc. Due to the same characteristics, the performance of surgical face mask is superior to that of a cloth face covering.

Nevertheless, the filtration mechanism of a surgical mask does not provide the wearer with a reliable level of protection from inhaling smaller airborne particles (less than 2.5 microns).

Therefore the surgical face mask should not be considered a respiratory protection device.

A longer version of this article appears in

Also Read:

COVID-19 Outbreak: N95 Respirators

COVID-19 Outbreak: Surgical Face Masks

COVID-19 Outbreak: Cloth Face Coverings

COVID-19: Know Your Risk Level

COVID-19: Disinfecting Your Homes and Offices

Covid-19 Pandemic: Safe Return to Work and Business Continuity



About Sustainable Safety Solutions, NEPAL

Environmental / Occupational Health & Safety for Planet, People and Profit.
This entry was posted in Environment, Health & Safety (EHS), Resource and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to COVID-19 Outbreak: Surgical Face Masks

  1. Pingback: Carbon Monoxide Poisoning | Sustainable Safety Solutions, NEPAL

  2. Pingback: Initiating First Aid/CPR…. in Your Workplace | Sustainable Safety Solutions, NEPAL

  3. Pingback: Respiratory Protection | Sustainable Safety Solutions, NEPAL

  4. Pingback: Particle Pollution or Particulate Matter (PM) | Sustainable Safety Solutions, NEPAL

  5. Pingback: COVID-19 Outbreak: Cloth Face Coverings | Sustainable Safety Solutions, NEPAL

  6. Pingback: Air Pollution in Kathmandu: Are You Protected? | Sustainable Safety Solutions, NEPAL

  7. Pingback: COVID-19: Know Your Risk Level | Sustainable Safety Solutions, NEPAL

  8. Pingback: Covid-19 Pandemic: Safe Return to Work and Business Continuity | Sustainable Safety Solutions, NEPAL

  9. Pingback: COVID-19: Disinfecting Your Homes and Offices | Sustainable Safety Solutions, NEPAL

  10. Pingback: COVID-19 Outbreak: N95 Respirators | Sustainable Safety Solutions, NEPAL

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s