As the effects of the Coronavirus continues to spread rapidly throughout the world, personal protective equipment is becoming sparser as the demand continues to soar.
The WHO (World Health Organisation) has recommended face masks as an essential item of protection in reducing your chances of contracting and spreading the deadly disease and protecting your family and loved ones. Here are a few key facts in explaining to you, the UK public, on the main differences between each mask, as you want to ensure the one you’re using effectively designed in shielding against the Novel Coronavirus here in the UK.
FFP1 Face masks is a respirator mask (made of fabric and designed to filter the air you breathe in of impurities). They are ranked through a grading system that depicts how much protection is offered.
This face mask will protect you from breathing in concentrated materials of up to 4x OEL or 4x APF (assigned protection factor). This facemask is on the lower spectrum of price and protection.
Next up is FFP2 facemasks, which offers UK residents higher protection of up to 12x OEL or 10x APF. These are considered the European equivalent of the N95 respirators and adhere to the guidelines from the World Health Organisation on protective equipment.
This face mask will offer you the highest level of protection against airborne substances with a considerable 50x OEL or 20x APF. This mask is appropriate for blocking both solid aerosols as well as liquids, which makes it perfect for protection against potentially deadly unseen airborne virus matter.
NHS guidelines suggest that FFP3 facemasks are adequate in protecting against virus and bacterial infection control, particularly when the disease is spread through coughing and sneezing. These masks are commonly used by healthcare professionals when within the vicinity of handling hazardous pharmaceutical chemicals or human waste.
Unvalved facemasks - N95 & KN95
Additional features to a facemask include valves. If a mask is unvalved, it is probable that than the filtration system is built within the fabric, therefore allowing it to be lightweight and more comfortable.
Alternatively, a valved facemask can make it slightly heavier and more rigid in texture. These masks have excellent filtration systems which means wearing them becomes less stuffy and condensed, making them more breathable and comfortable for extended durations of time.
Folded face masks
Face masks can also be of the folded variety or moulded. Folded masks are incredibly discreet and easy to fold and carry in your pocket, as the fabric is light and breathable. They are adjusted via an elastic head strap; however, they come in one size and do not fit seamlessly against all face/head shapes.
Moulded face masks
Those who are looking for the closest fit possible, using a moulded mask is your best option. They are ergonomically designed to fit snuggly around your nose mouth and chin, making them more effective in minimising gaps where particles could enter your respiratory system.