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A surgical mask might be necessary if you’re a health services worker. You might also choose to wear these masks if you need extra protection against dust and fine particles during home projects or spring cleaning.
Here’s where you can easily order disposable surgical masks online and have them delivered straight to your door. Plus, we’ve listed which retailers offer free shipping deals.
It depends on where you live. Certain cities such as Ottawa, Toronto, Kingston in Ontario have implemented bylaws requiring people to wear face masks when in public. Outside these jurisdictions, businesses and other organizations may still exercise the discretion to require customers and employees to wear face masks. In some regions, wearing a mask is mandatory when riding public transit.
The consequences for failing to follow regional rules usually involve stiff fines ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars.
It’s expected that more cities will consider adopting similar bylaws in the future to prevent the spread of COVID-19, as per the World Health Organization’s recommendations. Previously, the WHO had issued a statement advising governments to request that people wear fabric face masks in public.
Take a look at this helpful page on the Government of Canada website to learn more about masks that offer the best protection during COVID-19. You can also learn about when and how to use masks from on the World Health Organization’s site.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends washing your hands with alcohol-based sanitizer or soap and water before putting on a face mask. Surgical masks are made to securely cover the mouth, nose and chin.
Avoid touching a mask once it’s on your face to avoid contamination, and discard it immediately after use. Masks should be removed from behind the head and ears and put into a (preferably closed) garbage bag right away, after which the WHO advises users to wash their hands. Surgical masks are not reusable, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), so you shouldn’t try to wash and re-wear yours.
Take a look at this helpful page on the Government of Canada website to learn more about masks that offer the best protection during COVID-19.
According to public health authorities in both Canada and the US, there are several main differences between surgical masks and N95 masks.
|Surgical masks||N95 respirator masks|
|Testing||Cleared by the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). The ASTM is an international standards organization recognized in Canada that develops and publishes technical standards for products.||Evaluated, tested and approved by NIOSH (US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health), a regulatory organization recognized in Canada.|
|Purpose||Protection against large droplets of hazardous fluids and respiratory droplets emitted by the wearer.||Protection against fine particles such as dust, smoke and aerosols.|
|Filtration||No filtration||Filters at least 95% of airborne particles|
Unlike cloth masks, surgical masks are made with non-woven, melted polypropylene, polystyrene, polycarbonate or other similar types of plastic. After melting, the strands of plastic cool and bond together – a process known as “melt blowing“.
This material is used to filter out small particles while allowing the wearer to breathe more easily. Most surgical masks consist of 3 or 4 layers, sandwiching a layer of textile between two layers of melt-blown fabric.
To test if your surgical mask is made of melt-blown fabric and not cloth, follow these steps to do a melt test. Use caution when working with open flames.
Surgical masks are put through five tests to comply with regulations set by government agencies such as the FDA, NIOSH and OSHA:
If you’d rather be able to wash and reuse your face masks, try these cloth mask options. While not intended for medical use, cloth masks can be helpful for general daily use while practicing social distancing in places where it’s hard to stay away from others (like grocery stores or public transit).
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