Respirator & Face Masks Respirator & Face Masks Learn about Face Masks and Respirators
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Respirator & Face Masks

Respirator & Face Masks

Ever since the outbreak of Coronavirus around the globe, people are trying all effective hygiene measures to prevent themselves from the pandemic disease. One of the crucial steps is wearing face masks. Though many are buying the face masks to protect themselves from the life-threatening virus, some do not know what type of mask to buy. Hence, in this article, we have explained the various masks that are available in the market and which mask is recommended for you to buy.

Before getting started with the importance of face mask and how to buy face masks, let’s take a short descriptive look at the pandemic disease.

What Is Coronavirus (COVID’19)?

It is a type of virus that infects the respiratory systems in a human body. According to research, these viruses are spread between animals such as snakes and bats before getting spread among human beings. The COVID’19 outbreak in Wuhan causes pneumonia. The main symptoms of people infected by this virus are suffering from cough, feeling ill and fatigued, and having difficulties in breathing. This virus has become so dangerous, and the whole world is taking preventive measures to get rid of the virus. Though the curing vaccine has not been found, yet our medical experts are putting on all their efforts to make the therapeutic vaccination for coronavirus.

How To Prevent The Spread Of Coronavirus?

Here are some of the measures to protect ourselves from the infectious virus:

Have a daily routine of washing your hands.

Isolate yourself at home.

When you are in a public place, maintain social distancing.

While sneezing/coughing, cover your mouth and nose.

Practice wearing masks when you go to public or over-crowded places.

Does Wearing A Mask Helpful?

As we all know that coronavirus is airborne, and hence it can quickly get into any substances and also through the filter gaps

Come, let’s get started with the different kinds of masks!

Valved And Non-valved Face Masks

The valve is something that is provided to enhance our comfort. These valves do not affect the protection level or contribute more when compared to other masks. It regulates how much air the mask could escape, and how quickly can it avoid it.

If you've ever worn an unvalved dust masks, you'll get to know how hot, sweaty, and stuffy which results in making us uncomfortable. This can also be bothersome for glass wearers in particular, as water droplets form and steam up your lenses. The valve plastic portion fitted across the section that lies on your nose and mouth in the mask. When you breathe out, the valve serves the air to escape, creating a controlled temperature, which in turn increases the level of comfort for you.

Hence both valved and unvalved dust masks are useful to the people, but the valved mask increases the comfort level when compared to unvalved masks.

Did You Know About Respirators?

Before we further get into more explanation, let’s get to know what is a mask and what is a respirator. Nowadays, we are often using the word mask when referring to the respirator.

Masks will be the loose-fitting ones that are used to cover the nose and mouth, whereas the respirators are tight-fitting ones that are used to create a perfect facial-seal. Here are some of the uses of masks and respirators.

Uses Of Masks

It was built for one-way safeguards, to capture body fluid that is leaving the wearer Example–chosen to wear during treatments to prevent coughing, sneezing, etc. on the vulnerable patient.

Opposite, in fact, to belief, masks are NOT designed to prevent the wearer.

A vast majority of masks do not have a safety rating assigned. (e.g., NIOSH or EN).

Uses Of Respirators

Non-ventilated respirators provide reliable two-way protection. It protects both intake and outflow air.

They are created to protect the wearer (when appropriately worn) up to the mask's safety rating.

It is available for both half-face and full-face.

Respirator Standards

As discussed above, masks are not recommended to protect the wearer, whereas respirators do defend them.

As per the Center for Disease Control, the respirator N95 mask is announced as a piece of protective equipment for COVID’19. It was also added in the guidance of SARS (Similar to coronavirus). Hence, N65 respirators are better or acceptable during the pandemic outbreak.

N95 Respirator Vs. FFP2/FFP3 Mask The respirator type most frequently discussed is N95. This is a NIOSH-managed American standard-part of the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

Europe serves two different standards. The score (FFP) for "filtering facepiece" comes from standard EN 149:2001. Then the standard EN 143 includes the rating P1/P2/P3, where the CEN (European Committee for Standardization) maintains both standards.

The comparison of different standards is given below:

Respirator Standard

FFP1 & P1 – AT LEAST 80%

FFP2 & P2 – AT LEAST 94%

FFP3 & P3 – AT LEAST 99%

N95 KN95 – AT LEAST 95%

N99 – AT LEAST 99%

N100 – AT LEAST 99.97%

Is N95/N100 Better Than FFP2 Or FFP3 Face Mask?

Not necessarily, it is essential to remember that these standards determine only the reasonable percentage of particles filtered by the respirator. For instance, if a mask is rated as FFP2, it will screen at least 94 percent of particles in diameter or more significant than 0.3 microns. In practice, however, it will filter between 94% and 99%.

Surgical Masks

In general, surgical masks are indeed a 3-ply (three-layer) design, with two sheets of "non-woven" fabric enclosing a "melt-blown" layer in the center. It is the melt-blown surface which provides the potential to filter. A melt-blown material is used in respirators, so you can imagine that recently, due to demand, it is more expensive and difficult to come by. Not too many melt-blown fabrics have the same potential for filtering; some are better than the others.

Picking surgical masks which have already been tested using a set of standardized test methodologies (ASTM F2100, EN 14683, or equivalent) will help to prevent products of low quality. During the surgical procedure, the ASTM level for surgical masks (especially levels 2 & 3) focuses primarily on fluid movement. These high levels under non-surgical circumstances do not serve much extra in the way COVID-19 protects.

Disposable Masks

The RPE technique is the most common as it is relatively cost-effective to buy, and generally, maintenance-free is disposed of after usage. It is available in three variants, FFP1 face masks, FFP2 face masks & FFP3 face masks, ffp2 respirator, most often used for protection against specks of dust, mists, and fumes.

Have you heard of the nuisance mask, that is similar to FFP masks? Those masks do not provide measurable offers as FFP, and they should not be confused with RPE.

How Long Should Masks Be Used?

We would generally recommend a difficult time, not more than 609 minutes, without even a break. When used way too long, then the mask may become uncomfortable with the user's inherent risk of loosening or removing the mask. Air supplied or powered respirators may be a superior choice if used over long periods.


Do they all have facial hair that may enable the mask to leak, do they have to wear anything with the RPE that may interfere with safe operation. Also, you should recognize whether the user was trained in the safe use and, most importantly, the mask fits. We recommend conducting a proper fit test, as not all masks will be suitable for all wearers.

Valved Vs. Non-Valved Respirators

Valved respirators facilitate the exhale of air. This allows them more convenient to wear and contributes to less build-up of condensation in the respirator.

The concern with valved respirators is that they cannot filter the exhalation from the wearer, but only the inhalation. This one-way protection, in a situation like Covid-19, puts others around the wearer at potential danger. It is because of this that hospitals and other medical practices are not using valved respirators. It is because of this that hospitals and other medical practitioners are not using valved respirators.

Pro Tip: One way to prevent everyone else when wearing a valved respirator is to overlay the valved respirator with a surgical mask or "tissue face covering," to (partly) filter out exhale.

Can The respirator Filter Coronavirus?

Higher efficiency face masks with a particle size of 0.3 microns (N95/FFP2 or better) can theoretically filter particles down to the level of coronavirus (about 0.1 microns). But it doesn’t mean that it can protect us from the deadly coronavirus. For this, we will need to wait for the reference from the studies experimented by the medical experts.

Can Masks Filter Virus?

While N95/N100 or FFP2/FFP3 are the gold standards when it comes to face protection, what about surgical face masks, do they protect? Technically speaking, surgical masks are primarily intended against medical practitioners to protect vulnerable patients. When sneezing / coughing/talking, stop the wearer (e.g., surgeon) from expanding their germs. So, they're optimized not to protect the wearer but to protect patients.

Compared to respirators, an evident flaw with surgical masks is the absence of a tight face fit, leaving gaps across the edges.

What Do Studies Tell? According to an Australian study, the key points are listed below:

To protect against influenza-like diseases, wearing an operating mask or N95 (FFP2) respirator was safer than wearing almost nothing.

While we can predict surgical masks being less than respirators, the studies suggest that they are not as inadequate as one might assume. For example, when protecting wearers against influenza, reviews did not find a substantial difference between the surgical masks and N95 respirators.

Note that the study used influenza protection as an extension for SARS-CoV-2 (coronavirus). This is performed because SARS-CoV-2 is new, and no similar studies are available on it. But the drawback, of course, is that it leaves a lot of instability, as SARS-CoV-2 can act quite in different ways as regards transmission.

What Level Of Protection Do Masks Provide?

As discussed above, the valve does not have any impact on the level of protection of the face mask. Instead, when deciding which mask, you want you should look for the FFP rating.

FFP1 masks provide the lowest level of respiratory protection at a rate of 4 Assigned protection factor (APF), whereas FFP3 masks offer the highest level of security at 20 APF rates. The FFP2 level meets the guidelines of the WHO and is the UK / EU equivalent of the US N95 masks. They prevent components up to 12x OEL or 10x APF at concentrations.

face masks for sale

Should I Cover My Face With Mask To Protect From COVID’19?

At this point, according to medical experts, is that wearing a mask is considerably better to protect ourselves from coronavirus rather than not wearing them.

It is worth remembering that no mask or measure is ensured to safeguard you from COVID-19, so it is crucial to monitor all government advice on social distancing and cleanliness. Maintain a routine of washing hands, and apply hand sanitizer in-between to maintain more cleanliness. Wash the shared surfaces off using the disinfectant. While performing specific tasks, consider wearing disposable gloves and masks.

Final Verdict

Currently, COVID’19 has become the talk of the globe. All are trying effective ways to prevent life-threatening diseases. If you are not wearing a mask, it is essential to buy the face masks and wear them when you are going out. No matter what mask you are wearing, it can be a surgical mask, medical mask, hygiene mask, surgical masks, dental mask, 3m respirators, n99 face mask, FFP1 Face masks or FFP2 Face masks, ffp3 respirator, ffp3 face masks ffp2 respirator, or anything, but wearing a face mask is very crucial at this moment.

buy face masks

As mentioned above, along with this mask, you will also need to consider other preventive measures such as washing hands often, applying hand sanitizer/antibacterial gel, wearing disposable gloves, and maintaining social distancing. At this moment, we all must stay at home and show our unity together to prevent the world from pandemic disease.

Article Posted: 02/05/2020 15:13:08

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