What’s The Difference — Facemasks vs Respirators?
Wearing face protection, such as a respirator or facemask, has become a standard part of our daily lives over the past couple of years, and it is here to stay. However, with facemask terminology more common in our everyday vocabulary, it can become confusing, and even dangerous, if the terms are used wrong.
The words ‘facemask’ and ‘respirator’ are being used interchangeably more and more frequently, but are they actually the same?
What is a Facemask?
A facemask or face covering is designed to protect the nose and mouth from splashes, liquids and droplets of fluids, particularly bodily fluids. For example, if someone sneezes or coughs, if a face covering is worn, it can help both parties from the secreted fluid.
Furthermore, a face mask or covering is not form-fitting to the individual wearer and is generally a one-time-use, or wash-after-use for reusable, fabric alternatives.
What is a Respirator?
A respirator is more commonly used in healthcare and medical settings rather than in everyday, casual usage. They are designed specifically to filter and protect the wearer from airborne particles rather than just droplets and splashes.
A respirator, respiratory mask and powered respirators are usually tightly fitted to the wearer’s face and should not be shared between users. This type of mask is also often reusable, like the CleanSpace HALO, which can be charged between uses using a charging dock.
Who Should Use Which?
For everyday use for the average person, a facemask or face covering is ample protection and a respirator is not required. It is also not practical for the average person to use a respirator as this minimises supplies for healthcare and medical professionals who need them as part of their Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to safely undertake their role.