One of the effective preventive measures to fight against coronavirus is masks. They protect the person from particles that the other person releases via coughing, and/or sneezing. These are medical masks that are specially designed to offer the best level of protection against coronavirus.
In this article, we will tell you about different types of masks and their efficacy towards coronavirus.
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A surgical mask is a kind of disposable medical device that has a waterproof layer in it. It is available in pharmacy stores. This type of mask offers a high level of protection against infectious agents that gets transmitted via “droplets.” It can be in the form of secretions via the upper respiratory tract or saliva. It is advised not to wear these masks for over three to eight hours.
It is important to note that surgical masks do not offer protection from “airborne” infectious agents. Due to which it would not prevent the wearer from getting contaminated by the coronavirus.
The other type of mask is called a respirator. It is viewed as personal protective equipment that stops the mask wearer from breathing in aerosols that includes dust, mist, and smoke, along with gases, or vapors that can prove to be health hazards.
If you are looking for a mask that offers protection against coronavirus, SARS, H1N1, etc. then you should buy respirators. Respirators are not available in medical stores. They are bifurcated into two categories as filtering and insulating.
Filtering respirators comprise of a facepiece along with a filtering device. This mask is effective against particles, specific gases, and vapors. It comes with an exhalation valve that prevents condensation in the mask, assists the user to inhale and exhale easily, and comfortably. Respirators are available in both disposable and reusable forms.
Standards and regulations for these masks
Depending on the geographical area, these masks are subjected to varying standards.
Surgical masks must adhere to the European standard EN 14683 that has three stages of bacterial filtration efficiency as BFE1, BFE2, and Type R). they should ASTM standards that also comprise of three levels of protection.
Respirators, on the other hand, should meet the European standard EN 149: 2001 that has three categories (FFP1, FFP2, and FFP3) of throwaway particulate respirators.
- FFP1 offers the least filtering and is normally used as a dust mask.
- FFP2 offers at least 94% filtration percentage with 8% maximum leakage to the inside. This makes it effective against influenza viruses and the coronavirus.
- FFP3 offers at least 99% of filtration percentage with only 2% maximum leakage to the inside. It is effective against very tiny particles like asbestos.
Masks are generally available in two types in the market as respirators and surgical masks. Before you buy these masks, you need to understand about them and their purpose in detail. For protection against coronavirus infection, respirators are the right mask to use.