How shall we choose between medical face masks and NOISH dust masks?
A surgical mask, also known as a procedure mask, is intended to be worn by health professionals during surgery and during nursing to catch the bacteria shed in liquid droplets and aerosols from the wearer's mouth and nose. Its first recorded use was by the French surgeon Paul Berger during an 1897 operation in Paris.
Surgical masks are also popularly worn by the general public in East Asian countries to reduce the chance of spreading airborne diseases; in Japan, it is common to wear a face mask whilst ill to avoid infecting others in public settings. Surgical masks were widely used in China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, and Toronto, Canada during outbreaks of the SARS virus, during the 2007 bird flu pandemic in Japan, and in the United States and Mexico City during the 2009 flu pandemic featuring swine flu and the H1N1 virus. They are also worn by people in dusty environments such as sanitation workers.
In higher risk environments, N95 or NIOSH masks may be used in place of surgical masks as they provide better protection due to their shape and securing straps.
Modern surgical masks are made from paper or other non-woven material and should be discarded after each use.