Surgical face masks are worn by health care professionals during surgery or while tending to patients in order to avoid contact with bacteria shed in the form of liquid droplets and aerosols from the mouth and nose or infectious blood and body fluids. Surgical face masks are used as a protective barrier to prevent cross-contamination among patients and surgeons. They are made mostly from non-woven fabric and are available in the two-layer and three- layer form. The layers are ultrasonically welded for efficient bacterial filtration. Bacterial filtration efficiency (BFE) is the effectiveness of the surgical mask material to filter bacteria of a specified particle size. Particle filtration efficiency (PFE) is the effectiveness of a material to filter aerosol particles. Both BFE and PFE are expressed as a percentage of a quantity that does not pass through the material of the surgical mask.

Surgical face masks are used in operation theatres and every area of health care that requires patient inspection. Rise in awareness regarding airborne infections has led to an increase in usage of surgical face masks in not only large health care facilities but also smaller ones across the world. The usage of surgical face masks has increased among the general public owing to the rise in outbreaks of airborne diseases in recent times. The inevitable use of surgical face masks and lower threat of their substitutes are expected to propel the global surgical face masks market during the forecast period. However, surgical face masks do not protect the wearer from inhaling airborne bacteria or viruses and are less effective than respirators. Respirators provide better protection than surgical face masks due to their design and tight sealing over the face. Substitution by respirators is estimated to restrain the global surgical face mask market during the forecast period.

The global surgical face mask market can be segmented based on distribution channel, end- user, and region. Healthcare professionals or the general public are the end users of surgical face masks. Surgical face masks are widely available through all distribution channels, and owing to the rise in number of outbreaks, the usage of surgical masks is expected to increase considerably in the near future. In terms of distribution channel, the global surgical face mask market can be segregated into independent pharmacies, online sales, hospital pharmacies, retail stores, and others.

Based on region, the global surgical face mask market can be segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific accounted for more than half the share of the global surgical face mask market in 2016. Asia Pacific is expected to account for a prominent share of the market in terms of volume during the forecast period, due to higher population, large number of airborne diseases, and awareness regarding postoperative surgical site infections in the region. The surgical face mask market in Latin America and Middle East & Africa is anticipated to expand at a significant pace during the forecast period. Due to rise in requirement for cutting down health care costs, several health care professionals have begun to evaluate traditional methods of infection control, the prominent one of them being the usage of surgical face masks.

The global surgical face mask market is fragmented, with several local players holding potentially stronger positions in different regions. Key players in the surgical face mask market include DYNAREX, Henry Schein, Inc., 3M, Cardinal Health, Mölnlycke Health Care, Fisher Scientific, Medline Industries, Inc., Berkley Surgical Company, Halyard Health, Inc., Sterimed, CREATIVE CONTRACT (M) SDN BHD, and Key Surgical.

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