Breaking Down the Different Types of Face Masks

Introduction

The fast-spreading Omicron strain has served us a timely reminder that COVID-19 is here to stay. And that means masks aren’t going anywhere. You better get used to the idea of stockpiling high-quality masks and wear them each time you are out in the public. During the early days of the pandemic, masks were in acute shortage. This led the WHO to ask people to wear any kind of face covering. But things have since changed. Today, there are all types of masks in the market. From hygienic masks to filtering facepiece or FFP range of masks, you are spoilt for choice. They also come in various colours like ffp2 maske blau and ffp2 maske rot, among others. The variety of choices means you can complement your style with these masks and not have to wear a dull face mask every day. In this article, we break down the different types of face masks in the market, as well as the key features that set them apart.

Fabric hygiene masks 

Fabric hygiene face masks refer to ordinary cloth masks designed for home use and not to be used in medical settings. These masks became highly popular because they were used a lot during the start of the pandemic. At that time, there was a biting shortage of N95 and FFP2 masks, so the World Health Organization asked people to reserve them for frontline medical workers.

A cloth mask protects you from large droplets that may contain SARs-Cov-2, the virus which causes COVID-19. Their main feature is that they are comfortable and breathable. The best way to ensure protection when you wear these masks is to make sure that the mask covers the mouth and nose areas completely. However, even when properly worn, these masks rarely guarantee the best protection against coronavirus. It is why you must still be vigilant and observe COVID-19 protocols. Always keep a safe distance of 1.5 meters from the nearest person and practice the highest standards of hygiene. Also, get vaccinated. 

Surgical masks

You probably know surgical masks thanks to their distinctive light blue colour. These are the masks that surgeons wear when they operate on a patient. They protect patients and medical staff from contracting viral or bacterial diseases. They filter exhaled air effectively and their exhalation filtration efficiency is 95%. They are considered a superb way of keeping saliva droplets from spreading to other people when a person talks, sneezes, or coughs. They have been christened altruistic masks as they do not filter inhaled air. 

FFP3 and FFP2 masks

FFP2 and FFP3 masks are widely used in the European Union countries where they are authorized. These high-quality masks come in several colours like FFP2 mask blau and FFP2 maske rot. They are deemed as part of personal protective equipment that medical staff use in hospitals. They are better at filtering inhaled air than surgical masks. These masks comply with the EN 149-2001 standard. This certification affirms their efficiency, breathability, and structural compatibility. 

FFP series of masks are denoted 1,2 and 3, and these numerals denote their filtration efficiency. FFP3 mask is the most effective while FFP1 is the least.

FFP2 masks can have a valve or not. When shopping for a face mask, always go with valveless since it gives better protection than a mask with a valve. FFP3 masks have a high filtration efficiency of 98% and protect not just the wearer but also people nearby. Valves remove the air you breathe out without filtering it. It makes the masks with valves suitable for people who show the symptoms of COVID-19. However, the masks are uncomfortable and are not designed to wear for extended periods. It results from the mask’s high filtering level and also the several layers of which these masks have been made. The other downside of the masks is that they have a short lifespan. You can only wear these masks for a maximum of six hours. 

N95 and KN95 masks

N95 masks are used in the US and are highly efficient at filtering bacteria and viruses. KN95 is their equivalent, but are used by the Chinese. The masks are similar but not necessarily identical to FFP2 maske rot. They have the same filtering efficiency as FFP2 masks. N95 and KN95 have a CE mark which means they have been tested for filtering efficiency. 

Filtering masks

These are relatively new types of face masks that deliver a high degree of comfort without skimping on filtration efficiency. This is made possible by the fact that the masks incorporate the latest technology. They feature a nanofiber filter that guarantees that viruses and bacteria will not escape into the air you breathe. Their filtration efficiency is around 90%. These masks combine high filtration efficiency with the ability to be reused.

Summer masks

Conventional masks have been accused of being a little heavy, especially when worn outdoors during summer. These lighter masks contain several layers of fabric that guarantee protection not only to the wearer but also to the people close by. Apart from being lighter than conventional face coverings, summer masks are fitted with elastic bands that ensure proper fit and superior comfort. The masks, like ffp2 maske rot, have high filtration efficiency. They have nanofibers that block all harmful microparticles, including the virus that cause covid-19.

Conclusion

There is no greater symbol of Covid-19 than face masks. It is the norm today especially for people outdoors. In some countries, it is mandatory to wear a mask when you step outside your home. Because masks have become so important in the fight against COVID-19, it is in order that you understand the different types available and their capabilities. They have different filtration efficiencies and varying degrees of protection. And while any mask is better than no mask at all, high-quality respirators like FFP2 and N95 give you superior protection against coronavirus. They are also available in many colours like ffp2 maske blau and ffp maske rot. Best of all, these masks are affordable. 

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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