Surgical Face Masks


Surgical masks can help prevent infection from bacteria and viruses that can cause the flu and are used by many healthcare practitioners. If you are travelling to an area that is likely to be affected by the Cornavirus take sensible precautions such as wearing a face mask in populated areas and effectively washing your hands.

If you are looking for a higher level of protection from Coronavirus and other airborne pathogens please see our FFP3 Respirator Masks.

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Surgical Face Masks

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What is a flu mask?

A surgical mask covers the mouth and nose to prevent the access point for a lot of bodily fluids, germs and viruses. You will often see them used in busy and populated areas where the spread of disease is much more likely, as well to prevent the inhalation of dangerous pollution and chemicals. They may also be worn by those who are sick themselves to reduce the risk of spreading the disease by coughing, sneezing and breathing.

These flu masks can protect you from bacteria and viruses that survive within droplets of bodily fluids from an infected individual caused by sneezing and coughing. These are common symptoms of the flu so these masks are therefore effective at helping stop the spread of the flu as well as the common cold.

There is some debate as to the effectiveness of surgical face masks against the spread of disease, but recent evidence done suggest wearing a flu mask can reduce your chances of getting the flu by up to 70% if worn properly and paired with good hygiene and hand washing.

How does a surgical flu mask work?

A surgical mask (unlike a respirator face mask) is reasonably loose fitting and disposable. Surgical flu face masks are made with non-woven fabric, which has better bacteria filtration and air permeability while remaining less slippery than woven cloth. This protects you from breathing or swallowing any fluid droplets from coughs and sneezes that could contain a flu virus.

It has two elasticated straps on either side that are used to loop over the ears and hold the mask in place. It could cover both your mouth and nose but not feel overly tight. There is a flexible line of metal that runs over the bridge of the nose that can be adjusted for a better fit.

Here are some tips on the best way to use a flu mask:

  • Wear a facemask when coming within six feet of a sick person.
  • Position the strings to keep the mask firmly in place over the nose, mouth, and chin. Try not to touch the mask again until you remove it.
  • Wear a facemask before going near other people if you have the flu.
  • If you have the flu and need to see the doctor, wear a facemask to protect others in the waiting area.
  • Consider wearing a mask in crowded settings if the flu is widespread in your community or if you are at high risk for flu complications.
  • When you’re done wearing the mask, throw it away and wash your hands. Never reuse a facemask.

How effective is a surgical flu mask?

The International Journal of Infectious Diseases 2008 study concluded that when used correctly flu masks are extremely effective at helping prevent the flu. Multiple studies have found similar results. Overall a flu mask is most effective when used properly in combination with avoiding those who are known to be sick and keeping hands clean.

In areas where there is not known to be a flu or disease outbreak a flu face mask is an unnecessary step, but if you find yourself in a place where the likelihood of catching the flu is high they can be an effective preventative.

Will a surgical flu mask protect me from Coronavirus?

The 2020 Coronavirus outbreak has caught many people’s attention as it has spread much quicker than many viruses before it. Although it is not as contagious or deadly as some other well known and dangerous viruses (such as Measles and Ebola) it has the ability to infect a person long before they notice any symptoms, meaning they could be infecting others without realising. 

The Coronavirus is not known to be airborne, meaning that it can only be caught from the bodily fluid droplets from an infected individual. Either from sneezing or coughing, or not washing hands and touching a person/object. Wearing a flu mask will help reduce these chances of infection, if paired with vigorous and precise hand washing.

What is the Coronavirus?

You can find more information about the Coronavisus here.

The Coronavirus, also known as novel Coronavirus, Covid-19, or 2019-nCov, is a new strain of virus belonging to the same family as the common cold, but more dangerous.

It was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan on the 31st December, 2019. The virus is believed to have first contacted humans from a live animal market. Coronavirus has since spread throughout China including the capital Beijing. Individual cases of Coronavirus have been confirmed outside of China in multiple countries including Japan, Australia, the USA and the United Kingdom.

What are the symptoms of Coronavirus?

The main symptoms of the Coronavius are:

  • a cough
  • a high temperature
  • shortness of breath


Although it is worth being aware that this a new virus that is still being studied, meaning that we may not be aware of all of the symptoms. They are very similar to that of a regular flu, but are far more likely to progress to more serious breathing issues.

Who is likely to get Coronavirus?

Anyone who lives in or has recently travelled to mainland China, Thailand, Japan, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macau, is advised to stay indoors and call the NHS 111 phone service.

Although as of yet the threat to the UK is minimal experts are expecting the number of identified cases to rise.

How else can I protect myself from the Coronavirus?

At this point in time you are far more likely to catch the flu rather than the Coronavirus, but the prevention advice for both is similar. As well as wearing a flu mask washing your hands thoroughly and consistently is essential, especially before eating or touching your mouth or eyes. 

You should make sure you cover your mouth and nose when sneezing and make sure to wash your hands after.

If you know someone who has the flu, or you are worried they might have coronavirus you should maintain a physical distance to decrease the risk of infection. Six feet is the generally recommended amount.

What should I do if I think I have the Coronavirus?

If you have:

  • Been to Wuhan or Hubei Province in China in the last 14 days (even if you do not have symptoms)
  • Been to other parts of China, including Macau and Hong Kong, in the last 14 days and have a cough, high temperature or shortness of breath (even if it’s mild)
  • Been to Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Republic of Korea or Malaysia in the last 14 days and have a cough, high temperature or shortness of breath (even if it’s mild)
  • Been in close contact with someone with confirmed coronavirus


Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Call 111, stay indoors and avoid close contact with other people.

Tell 111 about any recent travel and any symptoms you have.

You can find information about what to do if you think you have the Coronavirus on the NHS website.

How often should I be using a surgical flu mask?

If you are in an area likely to catch the flu you should wear a flu mask on any busy, public space such as shops, hospitals and public transport. If you are in contact with someone who has the flu you should stay six feet apart, or wear a flu mask. For healthcare professionals such as doctors and nurses they may want to wear a flu mask whilst at work.

How often should I be replacing a surgical flu mask?

You should replace your flu mask as soon as it gets moist or each day.

Are these surgical flu masks recyclable?

They are not currently recyclable, they should be put in general waste.

How much do these surgical flu masks cost?

You can order flu masks online from e-Surgery for £14.95  for a pack of 10 (£1.49 per mask). Save £24.80 and order 50 masks for just £49.95 (99p per mask).

How will my surgical flu masks be delivered?

e-Surgery uses Royal Mail delivery with choices starting from FREE tracked delivery, Royal Mail tracked 24 from £2.50 and Royal Mail 1pm special delivery from £4.90 (discover more about e-Surgery delivery). Your flu masks will arrive in discreet, recyclable packaging at a delivery address of your choice. Find out to recycle packaging from e-Surgery.

Additional information


2-Ply Disposable Surgical Mask


10 Masks, 50 Masks