Frequently Asked Questions on Surgical Masks

Do face masks help in preventing viral infections?

There is significant clinical evidence to show that using face masks, in either the hospital or the community environment, does help reduce viral infections.

What is the difference between a surgical mask and a respirator mask?

Surgical masks are medical devices that are designed to protect the area where a surgeon is working from contamination originating from the wearer. These masks are designed to protect the environment and not the wearer. Respirators are personal protective equipment. They are designed to protect the wearer from the surrounding environment in which they find themselves. Respirators have much higher filtration performance than surgical masks. They must pass a face fit test to be approved and sold on the market.

Should face masks be changed between each patient whether there is visible contamination or not?

Yes, face masks should not only be changed between patients but they should also be changed anytime they become wet.

What are the limitations of a face mask?

Limitations of PPE face masks include: 

  • Restricted movement due to weight
  • Restricted vision due to visual field limitations
  • Difficulty communicating due to face protection
  • Heat stress 
  • Facial hair interferes with proper fit of masks
  • Improper use, penetration/tears are potentially hazardous

What should be the usage and care regime for a disposable face mask?

Disposable face masks must be used where there is a possible risk of contamination. These masks must be disposed once used. If in case it needs to be stored seal the mask in a plastic bag before storing. It is strictly prohibited to share masks with anyone else other than you.