The Ultimate Guide To Anti- COVID Masks

Whether you’re sick or healthy the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and for safety reasons recommend everyone to wear a face mask in places where it can be hard to stay 6 feet away from others.

That’s because studies show that people can spread coronavirus even if they don’t have clear symptoms or before they have symptoms.

In fact, you might be most contagious even before symptoms begin. So, before you decide to buy or make your own mask, learn which type is best and the most safer for you, and how to wear it.

What Is The Difference Between Masks Vs Respirators?

This is a question many people ask especially when it comes to safety reasons: Do you know what the difference between a face mask and a respirator is? Keep reading!

What Is A Face Mask?

A face mask is a loose-fitting mask that not require fit testing. It covers both the nose and mouth area. They have 2 ear loops that stretch around the ears to hold the mask in place.

Face masks are designed to be used as fluid resistants and they provide the wearer protection against large droplets, splashes, or other hazardous fluids that might spread to the environment.

Typically face masks have less protection assigned to them comparing to face respirators and are not NIOSH (National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health) approved.

They are Disposable and recommended as a precautionary measure to protect the people around you.

What Is A Face Respirator?

A face respirator is a tight-fitting mask that creates kind of an “impervious face mask”.

Each respirator, when used properly, will create a facial seal that will filters out at least 95% of airborne particles including large and small particles.

It requires a fit testing check and ideally should be discarded after each patient encounter.

And, unlike face masks, respirators are evaluated, tested, and approved by NIOSH.

What Does FFP Stand For Mask?

FFP stands for filtering facepiece. Generally, dust masks bear the code FFP which shows what and how many particles of suspended dust, mist, or fibers are filtered.

The mask is a half-face mask, meaning that it protects the chin, nose, and mouth. It must meet certain standards and effectiveness tests assessed by the filtration as well as the degree of leakage around the edges.

What Are Meanings For FFP1, FFP2, FFP3?

The European standard EN 149 2001 +A : 2009 classes 3 types of particle-filtering half masks: FFP1, FFP2, and FFP3 according to performance and levels of protection they offer for the wearer.

A convenient mask that follows the regulations must have its class written on it, along with the name of the standard and its year of publication, as well as any applicable option codes.

Even though the EN 149 standard does not specify any coding colors, some manufactures use in addition to the information provided before different elastic band colors to distinguish the mask class and make it easier for the wearer to identify the type of masks.

Now, let’s talk a little bit about those 3 different types.

  • FFP1 mask:

This is the least performing filtering mask of the three. It is mainly used as a dust mask, comes with aerosol filtration of a minimum of 80%, and an internal leak rate of a maximum of 22%.

  • FFP2 mask:

Similar to the KN95 and N95 face mask respirator, this mask offers protection in various areas such as the pharmaceutical industry as it effectively stops powdered chemicals.

With an aerosol & paraffin oil filtration percentage of a minimum of 94% and an internal leak rate of a maximum of 8%, this FFP2 face mask can serve as protection against influenza viruses as well as against the bacteria of pneumonic plague.

  • FFP3 mask:

The FFP3 face mask is the most filtering of the FFP masks.

With the best aerosol & paraffin oil filtration (not less than 99%) and a maximum internal leak rate of 2%, this mask protects against very fine particles such as asbestos and ceramic. But, it does not protect against gases and in particular nitrogen oxide.

What Does N95 Stand For Mask?

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), there are different types of disposable particle respirators and an N95 respirator falls into that category.

The different ratings in place for respirators indicate how well the mask would protect against oils and are rated as N, R, or P.

N: Not resistant to oil.

R: Somewhat Resistant to oil.

P: Strongly resistant (oil proof).

Now let’s move on to the numbers, respirators that filter out 95 percent of airborne particles are given a 95 rating. The respirators that filter out at least 99 percent of airborne particles have a 99 rating and the ones that filter out 99.97 percent of airborne particles, which NIOSH notes as essentially 100 percent, receive a 100 rating.

And we come to the conclusion: N95 respirator is not resistant to oil mask that filters out 95 percent of airborne particles.

N95 Or N100 Mask?

According to NIOSH, there are different types of disposable particle respirators and both N100 and N95 respirators fall into that category.

But what is a disposable particle respirator?

The CDC suggests that particulate respirators are also known as ‘air-purifying respirators’ because they protect by filtering particles out of the air as you breathe.

But, these respirators protect only against particles such as bacteria or viruses and not against gases or vapors.

N-Series particulate respirators and like we explained before with the letter N, are not resistant to oil and therefore provide protection against solid and liquid aerosol particulates that do not contain oil.

The difference between an N95 and N100 respirator is simply the filter’s efficiency level, For example, the N95 face mask provides 95% efficiency against solids and liquids which don’t contain oil.

While N100 face masks are also not resistant to oil, according to NIOSH, these type of masks must prevent 99.97 percent of particulates from getting in when properly worn.

Basically, the higher the efficiency, the more particulates the respirator will filter out.

What Does KN95 Stand For?

Lots of users care most about what percentage of particles the masks capture. On this metric, KN95 respirator masks are rated to capture 95% of tiny particles.

KN95 is China code, these face masks are the standard masks that are intended for the vast majority of wearers. They are the same as N95 in the USA.

What Is The Difference Between KN95 Vs N95 Vs FFP2 Vs FFP3 Respiratory Face Masks?

Now and after we know the definition of each of the above masks we can spot some key differences between them. Let’s start with KN95 and N95, and despite the long list of differences, the two masks are equivalent or nearly equivalent to the features that most people care about.

They are both rated to capture 95% of particles, although only KN95 masks are required to pass fitness tests. N95 masks have slightly stronger requirements for breathability.

Moving on to FFP2 and FFP3, FFP2 is very similar to N95 masks, it offers protection in various areas such as the glass industry as it effectively stops powdered chemicals. It has a minimum of 94% aerosol/paraffin oil filtration percentage and an internal leak rate of a maximum of 8%.

For the FFP3 mask, the numbers outperform the FFP2, with a minimum aerosol/paraffin oil filtration of 99% and a maximum internal leak rate of 2%, FFP3 is clearly the most filtering FFP masks.

Difference Between Valve Vs Non-Valve Mask Respirators And Which One Is Better?

While the benefits of masks are clear, widespread use unearthed a host of drawbacks: face irritation, difficulty breathing, and moisture buildup.

One type of mask called a “valve mask” claims that can solve some of these problems, drawing into question what’s the difference between the valve and not valve face mask respirators?

Valve masks are a type of N95 mask or FFP valve mask that has a one-way valve allowing exhaled air to easily pass through a small round or square filter disc attached to the front.

Even though valve masks sufficiently protect the wearer, they fall short because of the valve design which only filters air breathed in, but not breathing out.

The purpose of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s universal masking guidelines is to prevent viral transmission from infected individuals to people around them. Hence, some states banned their use.

This leads us to the following questions, is it ok to wear my N95 or FFP2/FFP3 valve mask as long as it’s legal in my area?

The answer is: Not really!

Yes, if you have a mask with a valve, you are protecting yourself as well as you would be if you wore a mask without a valve.

But, if you have a mask with a valve, you’re not really protecting those around you, which is different than the goal that we’re trying to achieve. Especially during the coronavirus outbreak of the world.

Is The Mask Protecting Our Health From Coronavirus?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), if you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with suspected COVID infection.

Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.

Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent safety measures such as hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water. If you wear a mask, then you must know how to use it and dispose of it properly.

What Are The Best Face Masks For Coronavirus?

Picking the right air-purifying respirator or safest face mask can seem like a daunting task, KN95, N95, FFP2 or FFP3 face mask respirator that all are very helpful to protect our health from the coronavirus, of course FFP3 face mask is the best protection face mask respirator, but not the must one.

With so many available options out there, it can be difficult to recognize what you actually need to meet your air supply.

Once you have successfully determined which elements you need to protect yourself against, the following points can help you make the proper selection.

· Consider Respirators

Respirators must meet the rigorous filtration standards set by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) of EN 149 2001 +A:2009

Like we mentioned earlier:

  • KN95 or N95 respirators equal to FFP2 mask respirator that can filter 95 percent of particles.
  • N99 respirators equal to FFP3 face mask have the ability to filter 99 percent of these particles.
  • N100 respirators can filter 99.7 percent of these particles.

Some of these respirators have valves that allow exhaled air to get out, making it easier for the wearer to breathe.

However, the downside of this is that other people are susceptible to the particles that are exhaled through these kinds of valves.

·  Surgical masks

Unlike respirators, surgical face masks don’t have to meet NIOSH filtration standards. They aren’t required to form an airtight seal against the area of your face that they cover.

How well surgical masks filter pathogens varies widely, with reports ranging from 10 to 90 percent.

Despite differences in performance, a randomized trial found that surgical face masks and N95 respirators reduced participants to risk of various respiratory illnesses in similar ways.

· Cloth masks

They are less effective at protecting the wearer because most have gaps near the nose, cheeks, and jaw where tiny droplets can be inhaled.

Although cloth masks tend to be less effective than their medical-grade counterparts, experimental results suggest they are far better than no mask at all when worn and constructed properly

How Long Can We Wear A Face Mask During Coronavirus?

Before you worry about reusing a mask, consider first which ones you should use.

If you have an N95 mask and you’re a healthy person not taking care of an infected individual, you could donate that unused mask to health care providers.

When social distancing outside is not possible, the CDC recommends the use of cloth masks in public settings.

Now, reusing surgical masks is not ideal.

According to WebMD, Surgical masks are important for health care workers.

But if you have one, wear it once, then throw it away.

Put it in a plastic bag first, then the trash. Make sure to wash your hands with soap and water after.

If you’ve reusable masks wash them with hot water and detergent or soap after each wear. Put the masks in your washing machine and then hang them to dry. Wash your hands when you’re done.

If you’re using any kind of mask, you need first to make sure it doesn’t become one more contamination zone.

To prevent self-contamination, put on, and take off your mask very carefully.

Bottom Line

In addition to applying safety measures such as physical distancing and proper hand wash, many health professionals consider the use of face masks to be a key measure in helping to prevent the spread of viruses.