ASTM International develops the standards for surgical masks used in health care settings. ASTM standards include three levels of protection for surgical masks. Providers can also select an n95 respirator for enhanced protection. With so many options, it can be difficult to know which is the correct choice. Fortunately, when you know what you are looking for, it is easy to select a mask. Find out what to consider when choosing a mask. Then, you will have the level of protection you need to stay safe at work. Fluid resistance should also be considered when selecting a surgical mask. When providers conduct procedures where bodily fluids might splatter, they need to wear the appropriate mask.For moderate levels of fluids, providers can use a level 2 mask. Those who require maximum barrier protection should choose a level 3 surgical mask. Q: When is level 1 enough? A: While providers want maximum protection, a level 1 mask is enough in many situations. If you are in a low populated area, or in an environment with low risk than a Level 1 protection is more than sufficient. Q: When should I use a level 2 or Level 3 Mask? A: In addition to Particle and Bacterial Filtration, Level 2 and Level 3 masks both provide high levels of fluid resistance. While level 2 masks protect against moderate amounts of fluids, level 3 masks offer maximum liquid barrier protection. It is wise to choose a level 3 mask when dealing with any type of fluid scenarios. These masks feel similar, and the extra level of protection is helpful. Q: Can I reuse these masks? A: No. To prevent contamination, you must dispose them after use before 24 hours. Q: Can I wash these masks? A: No. The filter layer can be damaged after washing which can hamper the mask’s protection. Q: What is the difference between a procedure mask and a surgical mask? A: Procedure Mask have ear loops, whereas Surgical Mask have ties. There is no performance difference between them except for the ear configuration. For example: A level 3 Surgical Mask has the same protection rating as a Level 3 Procedure Mask. However, a Surgical Mask will have tie backs, and a Procedure mask will have ear loops.