Although it cannot replace social distancing, wearing a mask reduces the spread of respiratory viruses like Covid-19. However, you need to know exactly what type of protective mask to choose and how to wear it properly?
Here is expert advice on this.
Why do you need the mask?
Reducing particle emissions from 70% to 95%, the mask is a means of prevention and protection for those around us. It absorbs the droplets emitted during coughing or sneezing and limits the penetration of the infectious agent; provided that essential hygiene measures such as hand washing and respecting distances are observed. Above all, wearing a protective mask is declared “preferable in many circumstances” and compulsory in others, such as public transport. Now let’s see the different types available on 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 tissues used is not tight enough to block your saliva droplets. They also put you at risk of touching your face frequently.
So, these are not intended to replace face masks for protection against germs.
Today there are three types of masks:
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 the standards for breathability and droplet filtration and reduce the likelihood of transmitting postilions to people encountered and surrounding areas.
They can be made by hand but also industrially. Health officials recommend using two types of cloth masks according to the public:
“Type 1” masks are useful for filtering up to 95% of germ particles. These breathable masks are intended for professionals who deal with the public, such as cashiers and law enforcement officials.
“Category 2” masks are intended 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 transmitted by droplets. They help avoid infecting others when you are sick. They are sufficient in most situations to effectively protect the spread.
vs). FFP2 or FFP3 masks
They filter contaminated aerosols and thus protect the wearer of the mask against viruses circulating in the air. In the case of coronavirus, they are reserved for risky situations and mainly intended for nursing staff.
How long to wear a mask?
According to the various information sites and expert opinions, all masks must be changed at least every four hours. Therefore, you should count on two to three cloth masks per person per day if you work outside. In addition, change your mask if it is wet.
Is an expired mask still effective?
The materials that make up the masks can deteriorate over time. However, as this degradation mainly concerns the elastic bands, there is no risk of using them if the latter are robust and the mask holds well in place. The filters of the protective 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 speak to someone, smoke, or touch their face, it is no longer useful. You must follow specific rules to use it correctly.
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 because they are more comfortable to put on. It is essential to properly adjust it to the level of the nose and unfold it so that it is well enveloping, from nose to chin. Place your glasses on the mask if necessary. So don’t touch it anymore!
To delete it:
Wash your hands well, remove the mask while holding it by the straps or elastics (do not touch its outer face), throw it away (or put it in the wash) and wash your hands.
Let’s fight COVID 19 together – share the steps you practice with others in the comments below!