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Face Masks vs. Respirators

Face Masks vs. Respirators

 Face masks and particulate respirators are common types of personal protective equipment (PPE) you may be interested in — What's the difference? Distinguishing between them can help you make the right choice of PPE based on your needs.

What Is a Face Mask?

A loose-fitting covering that goes over the mouth and nose, face masks are designed to protect others from your own coughing, sneezing and breathing. It works as a one way barrier to capture particles expelled by the wearer, preventing them from spreading throughout the air.

Because face masks fit loosely and don't form a seal, they are incapable of filtering the air, meaning they don't offer any protection from the environment. This is why it's important that as many people as possible wear face masks when out around others — it helps to create safer conditions for everyone.

What Is a Respirator?

When worn properly, a respirator mask forms a seal around the mouth and nose, which allows the air you breathe to be filtered. When sealed to the face, respirators provide a two way barrier that protects the wearer from the environment, while preventing particles from spreading through the air when they exhale.

Disposable respirator masks are classified and certified with safety standards like N95, KN95 and FFP2 and offer the highest level of protection, making them ideal for medical settings and for individuals with a higher risk of infection.

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