Difference between surgical mask and respirator

Difference between surgical mask and respirator

It is important to distinguish surgical mask with respirators, do not confuse them. Mouthguards do not protect the wearer against airborne contaminants and viruses. It filters the carrier exhaled air. Surgical mask lacks protection against particles and viruses for those who wear it. A surgical mask can be used to reduce the spread of an infection. Respiratory protection, on the other hand, protects the wearer from particles and viruses.

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

Respiratory protection, also called respirators, and surgical masks are intended for various purposes. A surgical mask is used to protect the patient from microorganisms in the carrier's (healthcare professionals') exhaled air. Surgical masks of class IR and IIR also protect the wearer against visible liquid splashes. Respiratory protection, on the other hand, is intended to protect the carrier (healthcare professionals) against airborne infection, such as tuberculosis. Due to this, the fit, function and tests of respiratory protection and surgical mask protection differ. Respiratory protection is covered by the personal protective equipment regulation and surgical mask under product legislation for medical devices.

How do you tell the difference between a respirator and a surgical mask?

According to current directives, all personal protective equipment must be clearly marked on the product. This means that you must be able to read on one of the various protections:

  • Manufacturer and item number.
  • Which standard and class it meets, for example EN149, FFP3.
  • CE marking, which means that the respiratory protection and the manufacturing process are approved by a notified body. A product without such information is not a respirator according to current standards.

Surgical masks do not require the same labeling requirements as respiratory protection. The surgical masks do not need to be marked at all. The packaging of surgical masks must be marked with the CE marking in accordance with the Medical Equipment Directive 93/42 class 1. The CE marking of surgical masks is not accompanied by a combination of numbers and does not have an approval/registration number from a notified body.