N95 respirators and surgical masks (face masks) are examples of personal protective equipment that are used to protect the wearer from airborne particles and from liquid contaminating the face. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) also regulate N95 respirators.
It is important to recognize that the optimal way to prevent airborne transmission is to use a combination of interventions from across the hierarchy of controls, not just PPE alone.
When someone who has COVID-19 coughs, sneezes, or talks, they send tiny droplets with the coronavirus into the air. That's where a mask can help.
A face mask covers your mouth and nose. It can block the release of virus-filled droplets into the air when you cough or sneeze. This helps slow the spread of COVID-19.
Can face masks protect me from the coronavirus?
A cloth face mask won't totally block the coronavirus. But it’s an added layer of protection for you and the people around you when you use it along with regular handwashing and social distancing measures like staying 6 feet away from others.
Types of Face Masks for Coronavirus
Masks for health care workers
N95 respirators and surgical masks should be reserved for health care workers and first responders. Because there aren’t enough of these masks for everyone, it's important that they go to the doctors, nurses, and other medical staff who need them most.
N95 respirator masks fit tightly around your face. They filter out 95% or more of the smallest particles in the air. But they have to fit just right in order to work.
Surgical masks are often blue with white borders. They fit loosely across your nose and mouth. These masks shield against the large droplets that come from a sick person's cough or sneeze, but they're too loose to protect against all germs. And they can't block the t
Masks for non-health care workers
Cloth masks are best for people