With the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, people around the world are looking for personal protective equipment against coronavirus protection. How effective are face masks or respirators? And which ones are better?
Against the backdrop of the rapid spread of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and the threat of COVID-19 infection in many countries, wearing a protective mask in public places is becoming mandatory. In Austria, for example, you cannot enter a supermarket without a Coronavirus protection masks covering your mouth and nose. Similar discussions are underway in Germany.
This is not about protecting people who wear masks from getting infected and how not to infect those who do not have masks. After all, before the appearance of obvious symptoms, everyone can be a potential carrier of the virus and not know about it. Due to the increased demand for face masks, not everyone can buy them. Therefore, in order to protect themselves from coronavirus protection, many sew them themselves. Are these masks reliable personal protective equipment against SARS-CoV-2 and which masks are better?
Will a medical mask help?
The meekest shield of the skin of the face and respiratory organs from numerous small particles is masks made of non-woven things that are involved to the back of the head, the so-called medical (preventive) masks that can be bought at any drugstore.
For a long time, such medical masks were used primarily by surgeons in operating rooms. Thus, the risk of transmitting possible infections to the patient by airborne droplets was reduced, and the skin of the face of doctors was protected from contact with biological fluids during operations. The medical mask provides effective protection for two hours, and then it is changed.
It is also often essential to alteration a fabric mask, for example, sewn self-sufficiently. This mask should be washed in hot water so that no virus leftovers on it. However, neither one-use medical nor fabric masks are mainly effective. After all, the virus enters the human body through the mouth, conjunctiva of the eyes, wounds and micro cracks, but, first of all, through dirty hands. Therefore, normal medical masks and even safety glasses should help, first of all, as a cue that with dirty hands you should not touch your nose or eyes.
The most reliable respirators
But which masks will help better protect against coronavirus? There are numerous different kinds of face masks – from cotton dust masks to ventilators with filters of three types that meet the European standard for breathing protection.
Respirators of protection class FFP1 (Filtering Face Piece) are habitually used to shield against non-toxic dust in the farming, food, woodworking, building industries, when working in quarries and limestone barriers. They do not assurance protection against viral poisons.
Respirators of protection class FFP2 are able to hold 94% of harmful materials. They are utilize to protection against medium poisonous solid asbestos, copper, barium, titanium, vanadium, chromium, manganese sand. Respirators are also fit for work in places containing damaging carcinogenic dust, smoke and aerosols based on oil and water. They can also be used to keep against flu and other viral poisons.
Respirators of protection class FFP3 are the supreme reliable, filtering out 99% of solid and liquid particles. They have the largest and multilayer filters and are indispensable, for example, when working with highly hazardous materials, in particular, when grinding and cutting glass, welding stainless steel and aluminum. These ventilators are used in areas of peak risk and are able to protect against specially coronavirus diseases and radiation.
However, no respirators or other personal protective equipment, such as gloves, goggles, aprons or rubber overalls, will protect against virus infection if a person does not follow basic hygiene rules. The most vital thing is to maintain the hygiene of the hands and surfaces with which there is continuous contact. Sanitary and epidemiologists recommend, among other things, washing hands thoroughly with soap (or wiping with disinfectant wipes) after visiting crowded places and before eating, as well as regularly sanitizing surfaces (tables, door handles, chairs, gadgets, computer keyboards).