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Ventilator vs. Respirator

Ventilators and respirators are both in short supply, but they are not the same thing.

A ventilator, also known as a mechanical ventilator, is a machine usually used in a hospital setting that blows air through tubes into a patient’s airways.

A respirator, on the other hand, is a piece of personal protective equipment, or PPE, worn over the mouth and nose or face to prevent inhalation of airborne particles, gases, or vapors. N95 respirators are recommended for health care personnel in clinical settings but not for the average person because of a severe shortage of this equipment.