A surgical mask, also known as a medical face mask, is intended to be worn by health professionals during healthcare procedures. Surgical masks are originally designed to protect medical personnel from splashes or sprays of bodily fluids, but the effectiveness of surgical masks against influenza-like infections has not been confirmed by high-quality randomized controlled trials. Surgical masks vary by quality and levels of protection.
Surgical masks are made of a nonwoven fabric created using a melt blowing process. A surgical mask, by design, does not filter or block very small particles in the air that may be transmitted by coughs, sneezes, or certain medical procedures.