While it cannot replace social distancing measures, wearing a mask reduces the spread of respiratory viruses like Covid-19. However, one must know precisely what type of protective face mask to choose and how to wear it well?
Here’s the experts’ advice on this matter.
Why Do You Need the Mask?
Allowing to reduce particle emissions from 70% to 95%, the mask is a means of prevention and protection for those around us. It absorbs the droplets emitted when coughing or sneezing and limits the penetration of the infectious agent; provided that you respect essential hygiene measures such as hand washing and respecting distances. Above all, wearing a protective face mask is declared “preferable in many circumstances” and compulsory in others, such as public transport. Now, let us take a look at different types available in the market.
What Are The Different Types Of Masks?
First of all, remember that scarves and handkerchiefs are not as effective as a mask, because the mesh of the fabrics used is not tight enough to block your saliva droplets. Besides, they expose you to the risk of frequently touching your face.
So, these are not intended to replace face masks for germ protection.
There are three types of masks available today:
a). General Fabric Masks
They are washable and, therefore, reusable. They do not have the same degree of protection as the surgical mask and even less than the FFP2 or FFP3 masks used by medical personnel. However, they meet standards for breathability and droplet filtration and reduce the likelihood of transmitting postilions to people encountered and surrounding areas.
They can be manufactured in an artisanal way but also in an industrial way. Health officials recommend using two types of fabric masks are available depending on the public:
“Type 1” masks are useful in filtering up to 95% of germ particles. These breathable face masks are intended for professionals that are dealing in contact with the public, such as cashiers and law enforcement officials.
“Category 2” masks are for the rest of the public and are capable of filtering 70 to 80% of germ particles.
b). Surgical Masks
These masks protect against viruses that are transmitted in droplets. They help avoid infecting others when you are sick. They are sufficient in most situations to protect the spread effectively.
c). FFP2 or FFP3 masks
They filter contaminated aerosols and therefore protect the wearer of the mask against viruses circulating in the air. In the case of the coronavirus, they are reserved for risky situations and mainly intended for nursing staff.
How Long To Wear A Mask?
According to the various news sites and expert opinions, all masks must be changed at least every four hours. Therefore, it is necessary to count on two to three cloth masks per person per day if you work outside. Also, change your mask if it is wet.
Is An Expired Mask Still Effective?
The materials that make up the masks can deteriorate over time. Still, since this degradation mainly concerns the elastic bands, there is no risk of using them if the latter is robust, and the mask holds securely in place. The filters of the protective face mask remain effective well beyond the expiration date.
How To Put On, Wear, And Take Off Your Mask?
Of course, if the mask is lowered to talk to someone, smoke or touch their face, it is no longer useful. One must follow specific rules to use it properly.
To put on your mask:
Please wash your hands thoroughly, place the mask on your face, holding it by the outer sides, and attach it. Prefer masks with elastic bands rather than straps as these are more comfortable to put on. It is essential to adjust it to the level of the nose properly and unfold it so that it is well enveloping, from the nose to the chin. Place your glasses on the mask if necessary. Then, don’t touch it anymore!
To remove it:
Wash your hands well, remove the mask while holding it by the straps or the elastic bands (do not touch its outside face), throw it away (or put it to wash), and rewash your hands.
Let’s fight COVID 19 together – share what measures you are practicing with others in the comments below!