VigorBuddy.com |What is a quality single use face mask? | With new numbers of infections coming out every day, the coronavirus pandemic continues to plague the world as more information is being sought on how to overcome it. As the current and most effective measures being taken to protect against the virus include proper sanitization and physical distancing, face masks are also playing an important role in public areas where physical distancing may not be easily observed. With the mandate given in most countries to have a face mask at all times in crowded areas, most people remain unsure of which type of masks are effective in protecting themselves against the spread.
Face masks, in most cases, can either fall into one of the two categories that are surgical masks or respirators. In both cases, these variants are designed in ways to provide different levels of protection against transmission. Looking at different case scenarios, surgical masks are said to be effective during face to face interactions with people. At the same time, respirators offer protection for medical personnel who are in constant contact with people having the disease such as healthcare professionals. Despite serving the purpose of protection, surgical masks and respirators fall under distinct regulatory scrutiny. In the case of respirators, these are usually considered personal protective equipment (PPE) by bodies such as the European Union and The Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Surgical face masks, on the other hand, are considered medical devices.
Surgical face masks
Falling under Class I devices in medical devices, surgical masks are still subjected to several tests to acquire a CE mark. Other classes in the medical equipment include IIa, IIb, and III, in which case Class III devices undergo stringent assessment. The tests carried out on surgical face masks include how breathable they are, splash resistance, and microbial cleanliness tests. More importantly, the devices get measured on their efficiency to filter out bacteria as well as particle filtration efficiency.
Making surgical face masks has been upscaled by traditional mainline manufacturers in recent times, with now fashion and automotive industries also aiding in the process. Due to the simplicity in design, the focus on making masks is mostly geared to finding the right balance between effective filtration and comfort in breathing through it during the day. However, certifying the product design takes a long time. One of the major components in creating a face mask includes celluloid or polypropylene plastic fabrics.
Surgical face masks are dubbed “altruistic masks” as they are effective when filtering the air leaving a wearer as they limit the spread of saliva droplets when someone talks, coughs, or sneezes. However, they are not as effective at filtering air inhaled by the wearer.
Respirator face masks
Classified as PPE, these masks are split into distinct three categories of filtering facepieces (FFP) that include FFP1, FFP2, and FFP3. The latter category, FFP3, is conformed to the highest standard quality and testing. Respirators are commonly given categories depending on the level of protection from the outside environment provided.
In most cases, healthcare professions use respirators ranked either FFP2 or FFP3. These masks are considered PPE due to the shape of the mask, which requires them to fit an individual’s face to ensure sealing all around the nose and mouth. Respirators have to undergo a seal test, which involves one person wearing a mask while being sprayed. The amount of ingress is measured to determine the effectiveness.
Considered the most effective masks for protection against COVID-19, valveless FFP2 and FFP3 masks are more efficient as valves remove the wearer’s exhaled air without filtration. One drawback to these masks comes from its high filtration level and layering of materials, which renders them uncomfortable to wear for long periods and limited lifespans. They are made to protect for up to six hours after which they are disposed off.
During the pandemic, a new form of face masks has appeared referred to as Fabric hygiene masks. These masks are not intended for medical use but are washable and reusable, unlike surgical masks and respirators. The uudelleenkäytettävä kasvomaski face masks are sold online or can be made out of various household items such as t-shirts and bandanas. These masks provide a mechanical barrier limiting the spread of viruses by filtering out the majority of droplets expelled from one’s nose or mouth. The fabric barrier is usually breathable but requires keeping safe distances and constant cleaning.
The use of non-medical fabric face masks came at a time of high demand for medical face coverings leading to short supply. They also aided in reducing the vast amount of waste from disposable face masks since they could be used. Continuous development of these types of masks has led to the development of filtering masks that offer a higher level of protection. The masks are said to be made from nano fiber that guarantees a bacterial and dust filtering capacity of 90%.