Surgical Face Masks & Respirators: How to Use Them Effectively - MEDICOS

Surgical Face Masks & Respirators: How to Use Them Effectively

Many have observed that face masks not only protect us from COVID-19, but also work effectively against other airborne diseases and harmful effects of pollution, dust, and smoke. After all, face masks are designed to filter out particles from the air we breathe.

There are 2 common types of disposable face masks: surgical and respirators (KN95, FFP2, N95, KN94, M99 masks). Let’s discover how you can use them effectively against airborne diseases and air particles.

How to Use Face Masks Effectively

Face masks are available in different grades and offer varying levels of protection based on environmental risks and situations. To get the most out of your face mask, you need to use the face mask correctly. Here are the steps for an effective protection:

  • Clean your hands with soap or hand sanitiser before putting on your mask or taking it off.
    Be consistent with wearing a face mask. Pulling it down to breathe or talk is not effective at preventing the spread of airborne diseases.
    Make sure the face mask fits your face without any gaps. You should be able to breathe comfortably through the face mask rather than through the gaps.
    Make sure your face mask stays in place while talking or interacting with others. This is so that you don’t have to adjust its position frequently to avoid contamination.
    Your face mask should be comfortable enough to wear for long hours.

Types of Face Masks

Surgical Masks

A surgical mask is a disposable facial protective equipment that provides a barrier between your nose and mouth and potential contaminants around you. They are regulated under specific health standards and should be disposed immediately after use as part of stringent infection control steps.

You may find that some surgical masks are made of varying layers and thickness, providing you with different levels of protection against viruses, bacteria, and particles or liquids. By design, ASTM standards are the most common indicator of the face mask protection level.

For a face mask to carry an ASTM rating, the FDA requires that the mask be tested in three aspects: barrier (bacterial filtration, particle filtration, and synthetic blood), physical (differential pressure), and safety (flammability, microbial cleanliness, and biocompatibility).

Depending on the test results, a face mask may be rated ASTM level 1, 2, or 3 with the highest performance rated level 3. A mask that is rated ASTM level 1 should not be used in areas where there is moderate to high risk of fluid exposure.

ASTM Levels

ASTM Level 1: Ideal for procedures in which there is low risk of fluid exposure (no splashes or sprays expected).

ASTM Level 2: Ideal for procedures in which there is moderate risk of fluid exposure (splashes or sprays can be produced). For everyday users who are not exposed to high pressure liquid, ASTM level 2 is sufficient as daily protection against viruses, bacteria and particles.

ASTM Level 3: Ideal for procedures in which there is high risk of fluid exposure (splashes or sprays will be produced). This is only recommended for surgeries involving exposure risk to high pressure fluid or blood spray.

Facemask Graph

The next time you buy your face mask, be sure to check the packaging for the ASTM rating with credible lab endorsement such as Nelson Labs (USA) to give you peace of mind, knowing that you purchased an effective and fiunctional face mask.

All MEDICOS Surgical Face Masks have passed the stringent ASTM test. MEDICOS as a reputable face mask manufacturer has the ability to design and produce ASTM Level 1 to 3 face masks.



Respirators are commonly used in high risk settings such as managing contagious infection, toxic fumes, and in crowded spaces with high risk of exposure to infectious diseases. Some common respirator types found in local markets include N95, KF series, KN series, and MEDICOS Malaysia’s M99.

Unlike surgical masks, respirators undergo a different set of testing and should be tested by NIOSH. The parameters of the test include aerosol particulates filtration, fitting, and breathability. ASTM ratings generally do not apply to respirators as these are testing for different levels of risk exposure.

Different from surgical masks, respirators like MEDICOS’ M99 series offer high levels of protection against airborne particles, thanks to their 3D facial-fitting design and 5-layer of protection, consisting of 3-layer filters. Tested by NIOSH Malaysia, MEDICOS M99 is on par with international standards.

With COVID-19, the use of respirators are no longer limited to healthcare and frontline workers. They are now extensively used by everyday consumers, pushing manufacturers to raise the bar on style and colours that are beyond expectations. The M99 respirators are designed to cater to a wide range of consumers with varying needs, face size, and colour preferences.

That said, there are 3 types of M99, each uniquely designed to offer different functional aspects, but are consistent with 5-layer protection with HydroChargeTM filtration technology.


M99 PRO Facemask

Designed with adjustable ear loops for users to tug and pull for the most optimum fit on their face.

Designed with adjustable ear loops for users to tug and pull for the most optimum fit on their face.


M99 NEO Facemask

Designed with ultra-soft ear loops and wider lip space for conversation, it is built for long hours of comfortable wearing with excellent breathability.

Designed with ultra-soft ear loops and wider lip space for conversation, it is built for long hours of comfortable wearing with excellent breathability.


M99 FLIP Facemask

Designed for the fashion-conscious, M99 Flip offers style and protection in one face mask.

When wearing a respirator, you will find that it fully covers your face as it is designed to meet the global standards of N95 face masks. However, they must be worn properly to ensure the highest level of protection.

Looking for high-quality face masks and respirators? Visit MEDICOS today!

We all want to stay healthy for a long time while providing our loved ones with maximum protection against airborne diseases. MEDICOS is here to ensure everyone who uses our face masks returns home safely. Continue to stay safe with MEDICOS face masks. Message us for more information.