1) How do I wear a mask properly for maximum protection?
- Wash and dry your hands before you pick up the mask or remove it from it’s packaging.
- When handling the mask, touch only the outside surface to prevent the inside surface from becoming contaminated.
- Position the plastic strip at the top of your nose, pull the straps around your ears and pull the mask down over your nose and mouth. Pinch the mask at the bridge of your nose for a snug and secure fit. Loose fitting masks are less effective.
- Before you remove the mask, wash your hands once more. Now you can pull the ear straps around your ears and dispose of the mask without touching the mask material.
2) What do the different FFP levels mean?
FFP stands for ‘Filtering Face Piece’ - also commonly called a Respirator Mask. It is the European rating system equivalent to the US rating system of N95 / N99, and Chinese rating system of KN95 / KN99.
FFP1 - Basic dust mask for protection against non-hazardous dust. Not suitable for protection against coronavirus.
FFF2 (equal to N95) - Filters at least 94% of airborne particles including bacteria - suitable for coronavirus protection
FFP3 (equal to N99) - Filters 99% of airborne particles - intended for protection against very fine asbestos and ceramic dust. Effective protection against coronavirus but may not be comfortable to wear for long periods of time to due reduced air flow.
3) When should I use each type of mask?
Civilian mask: In non-crowded spaces such as parks, outdoor spaces and indoors if few people are present.
N95 / FFP2 Mask: For travel and In most public spaces: trains, buses, cafes, busy streets, gatherings and workplaces with more than a few people. meet the guidelines from The World Health Organisation for protection against Covid-19
N99 / FFP3 Mask: In most situations an N95 / FFP2 mask will provide a good level of protection, however at-risk people who want the absolute highest level of protection may want to consider wearing an N99 / FFP3 Mask during travel and in busy public indoor spaces.
In addition to the above masks, a face shield can be worn as an added layer of protection, as well as gloves, which can be very effective to prevent contact transfer of the virus during, for example, trips on public transport.
2) Why do some masks have a valve?
Wearing a respirator mask over the course of a day can start to become uncomfortable. The slight resistance in breathing and gradual build up of humidity between the mask and face can be alleviated with a valve which will help the wearer to breathe more easily with no reduction in personal protection.
However a valve will allow exhaled air to pass through from the wearer, meaning the valve comes at the expense of the protection of those around you. Due to the infectiousness of the virus, we offer KN95 masks without valves to improve everyone’s safety.
5) Do fabric masks provide any protection?
Homemade masks fashioned from clothing and fabric will offer considerably less protection than certified Type II and KN95 masks. These medical masks contain special meltblown filter layers that prevent virus particulates from passing through. Homemade masks will not provide an effective barrier.