Surgical masks are used by medical practitioners each and every day to give temporary protection against the danger of bacterial infection, but increases in consumer demand for them also spikes at different times, including when new news about the emergence of new viral infections like the swine flu is released. These infections have killed or seriously injured a large number of people in the past few months and authorities are on high alert to contain the public’s fear. A surgical mask, one of the most effective methods of preventing and controlling these infections, is now in high demand. It is not enough to be scared; medical professionals need to be ready to deal with any situation that may arise in any given hospital.
Large-particle droplets of bacteria are breathed into the lungs by patients who are having respiratory tract infection or by patients who suffer from other complications brought about by poor ventilation of the airways. To fight this, doctors use N95 mask made in USA filters that are made in the United States and are approved by the FDA. In fact, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a surgical mask using these filters can effectively prevent the transmission of E-coli, a dangerous strain of bacteria that has been responsible for a number of fatal health complications.
N95 surgical face masks contain a special filter made from nylon, but are not made entirely from nylon. Nylon is chosen because it is an elastic material that can be molded to fit any size and shape. Because this custom-made filter does not absorb any of the large-particle droplets of bacteria that it covers, it is able to retain the freshness and scent of the disinfectant solution that it is used with. N95 surgical face masks that are made in the USA are also approved by the Environmental Protection Agency for use in preventing the transmission of bacteria.
Before you buy a N95 surgical mask, check to see if it contains special features like an anti-microbial or anti-bacterial valve. These two features are important in ensuring that the respiratory system inside the mask is able to trap and contain the large particles of bacteria that make up the majority of hospital-wide infections. If the valve is simply made with one piece of material instead of being composed of multiple pieces, the tiny but dangerous bacteria that compose the bulk of E-coli may escape through the opening and into the air. As well, small particles of the E-coli strain can escape into the mouth and nasal cavities. The anti-bacterial feature of the valve also allows the filters to trap smaller particles of bacteria that may be able to penetrate the mucus layer that surrounds the mouth and nose and cause a severe bout of serious throat inflammation.
The FDA evaluates all medical devices to determine if they are safe, reliable, and free of potential threats. On the basis of this evaluation, the agency will either approve the device outright or deem it unsafe and unworkable for use. E-coli, both in oral and nasal forms, are considered a serious threat to the health of those who have been exposed to them. In order for surgical masks to remain on the market after passing through the FDA, they must contain an approval seal from the FDA and meet certain criteria.
While the FDA doesn’t specifically define what it considers to be a risk, the guidelines that they do post indicate that a surgical mask should not contain large-particle droplets. Droplets larger than 0.2 millimeters are deemed to be high-risk for patients and should not be contained within a surgical mask. However, the agency does allow the use of low-mistle mouthpieces or N95 masks containing low amounts of virus protection. However, these devices must still meet strict guidelines in order to remain available to hospitals and clinics.
Because it can take years for surgical masks to go through the FDA’s stringent review process, manufacturers have to ensure that their products meet the required standards. The N95 and low-mistle headpieces must meet the same FDA guidelines as all other devices in order to remain on the market. Only after the masks pass the FDA’s stringent tests will the manufacturers then be able to call themselves manufacturers. Once a device passes FDA inspection it will then undergo rigorous testing by the organization to ensure that it is free of any defects or unforeseen risks. Only the best and safest devices will remain available to medical facilities.
The vast majority of manufacturers that make and sell disposable masks will meet all of the FDA’s guidelines in order to make sure that their products remain completely safe for use. However, there are a small minority of manufacturers that will knowingly provide their customers with products that do not meet FDA requirements. It is important that consumers only purchase products that they can individually verify are safe for individual use under emergency use.