Healthy Meds™

Face Masks Facts

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Face Mask Facts

Hygiene face masks are recommended for use in any situation where protection of the respiratory system is required.

The World Health Organisation WHO guidance recommends FFP2 or FFP3 masks during outbreaks of infections such as SARS, Avian Flu and Coronavirus.

Frequently Asked Questions about Masks

Medical Grade Face Masks UK
 
A medical grade face mask is one that has been tested and certified to meet medical level protection.
Healthy Meds™ is a UK based company, we have sourced medical grade face masks that are recommended worldwide by the World Health Organisation for over 60 year olds. Our FFP2 and FFP3 medical grade masks are sourced in the UK and are certified within Europe by PPE specialist notifed bodies.

Masks that do not carry EU certification are not medical grade in the EU. These are usually referred to as “face coverings”

A Medical face mask is designed to protect healthcare workers from germs emitted by sick patients. “Many infections are spread by droplets, which are relatively large when they first come out as a cough or a sneeze but become much smaller as they travel through the air and become aerosolised. A medical mask must have a very fine weave because its job is to protect the wearer from tiny aerosolised particles.

A cloth face mask, however, works by blocking the bigger droplets before they become aerosolised. “Its job isn’t to protect the wearer but to block the source of infection (what’s known as ‘source control’). Woven fabrics like cotton are very good at source control but less good at protecting the wearer.

Surgical mask

A surgical mask is a disposable medical device that can be bought in pharmacy and that protects against infectious agents transmitted by “droplets.” These droplets can be droplets of saliva or secretions from the upper respiratory tract when the wearer exhales.

If worn by the caregiver, the surgical mask protects the patient and his or her environment (air, surfaces, equipment, surgical site). If worn by a contagious patient, it prevents the patient from contaminating his or her surroundings and environment. These masks should not be worn for more than 3 to 8 hours.

A surgical mask can also protect the wearer from the risk of splashes of biological fluids. In this case, the surgical mask must have a waterproof layer. It can also be equipped with a visor to protect the eyes.

But a surgical mask does not protect against “airborne” infectious agents so it will not prevent the wearer from being potentially contaminated by a virus such as the coronavirus.

Respirator Mask.​A respirator is personal protective equipment that prevents the wearer from inhaling aerosols (dust, smoke, mist) as well as vapors or gases (disinfectants, anesthetic gases) that are health hazards. Available at hive pharmacy, it protects the wearer from airborne infectious agents i.e. against contamination by a virus such as coronavirus, SARS, H1N1, etc.

Respirators are divided into two categories: insulating and filtering. Filtering respirators consist of a facepiece and a filtering device. Sometimes the filter element is integrated into the facepiece. Depending on the type of filter, the mask will either be effective only against particles, only against certain gases and vapors, or against particles, gases and vapors.

Filtering respirators can sometimes also be equipped with an exhalation valve to improve user comfort. The valve prevents condensation inside the mask, misting on the glasses and helps the user breathe in and out easily.

It should be noted that respirators also protect those who wear them from inhaling “droplets” of infectious agents. Respirators can be disposable or reusable. In the second case, it is possible to replace the filter when it is full.

Respirators are tested in the direction of inspiration (from outside to inside). The tests take into account the efficiency of the filter and leakage to the face.

Europe In Europe, they must meet the European standard EN 149: 2001 which has three classes of disposable particulate respirators (FFP1, FFP2 and FFP3).

FFP1 refers to the least filtering of the three masks with an aerosol filtration of at least 80% and leakage to the inside of maximum 22%. This mask is mainly used as a dust mask (home renovations and various types of work).

FFP2 masks have a minimum of 94% filtration percentage and maximum 8% leakage to the inside. They are mainly used in construction, agriculture, and by healthcare professionals against influenza viruses. They are currently used for protection against the coronavirus.

FFP3 masks are the most filtering mask of the FFPs. With a minimum filtration percentage of 99% and maximum 2% leakage to the inside, they protect against very fine particles such as asbestos.

Unitied States In the United States, the face mask standards are a little different.

N99 masks offer a minimum filtration percentage of 99% and maximum 2% leakage to the inside, they protect against very fine particles.

N95 masks minimum filtration percentage of 95%.

Asia KN95 masks minimum filtration percentage of 95%.

A contagious patient should wear a surgical mask as soon as contagion is suspected.

In Europe, for caregivers and medical staff, it is necessary to wear a respirator of at least class FFP2 or FFP3 for maximum filtration of particles and aerosols when caring for a patient who is infected or suspected of being so.