Several different types of face masks may be used in medicine. In most cases they are intended to protect the mouth and nose.
A mask may need to protect the user against:
(1) dust and debris
(2) body fluids
(3) infectious aerosols
(1) protect against splashes, spray and splatter but not aerosols
(2) do not seal tightly to the wearer's face
(3) are not considered respiratory protection against infectious aerosolized particles
(1) half mask with or without face shield
(2) Powered Air-Purifying Respirator (PAPR) with face mask or hood
An air-purifying half mask respirator must fit the user's face tightly to be effective, and so fit testing is required.
Designation for air-purifying half masks:
(1) percent of airborne particles filtered out: 95, 99 or 100
(2) resistance to oil
Resistance to Oil
oil proof (strongly resistant)
The filter for a PAPR is termed high efficiency (HE) is >= 99.97% of airborne particles are filtered out.
For some infectious diseases more extensive protection is required to include eyes and exposed skin. This may require multiple separate types of protection or a full body suit.
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