What is important when buying coronavirus masks?
The whole idea of a coronavirus mask is to stop yourself from inhaling the airborne virus. We often see people in Asian countries wearing masks in media but this is not usually to block viruses, they want to block pollution. The good news is the same masks are also very effective at blocking viruses and filtering the air that you breathe. When selecting a mask you want to look for the following:
- The FFP rating – You want to find a mask rated FFP1 or higher, this means it filters 95% of particulate matter including dust, smoke or viruses down to 0.3 micron in size.
- Disposable Filter Elements – Replacing and disposing of the mask entirely or the filter itself is important. After all if it does it’s job it contains the virus so keeping it on your person is not a smart move. With expensive masks they will feature replacement filters but most masks are cheap and designed to be thrown away.
- Fitment – If there are gaps between your face and the mask unfiltered air will get through.
These masks work in a very simple manner, they have filters (often some sort of carbon or synthetic material) which is a very fine grade that physically stops particles getting through. Paper surgical masks are generally not FPP Rated so make sure that you are buying rated masks when doing so.
IMPORTANT: The coronavirus can be transferred through your eyes and ears. For this reason we recommend the use of Full Face shields or medical safety Goggles along with ear plugs in the form of cotton balls with tea tree oil infused (just 2 drops is fine). Wear gloves, change them regularly.
Coronavirus Masks Rating
Your Guide to Face Mask Ratings
Face Masks protect against airborne particles such as dusts, aerosols and powders. They are important for a range of Medical, Construction, Agricultural, and Pharmaceutical work. Different masks provide different levels of protection, so it’s important to find the right level of protection for you. EN 149 designates three face mask ratings; FFP1, FFP2, and FFP3.
FFP1 Face Masks
FFP1 Face Masks protect against low levels of dust, as well as solid and liquid aerosols. It protects against materials in concentrations up to 4x occupational exposure limit (OEL) or 4x assigned protection factor (APF).
FFP2 Face Masks
FFP2 Face Masks protect against moderate levels of dust, as well as solid and liquid aerosols. FFP2 Face Masks have a higher level of protection than FFP1 – FFP2 face masks protect against materials in concentrations up to 12x OEL or 4x APF
FFP3 Face Masks
FFP3 Face Masks protect against higher levels of dust. They also protect against solid and liquid aerosols. FFP3 masks protect against materials in concentrations up to 50x OEL or 20x APF.
How to Use Face Mask Ratings
It is important to consider the type and level of contaminants to which workers will be exposed. Once you have properly evaluated the airborne hazards in your workplace, you can begin to choose face masks based on their FFP rating. The best face mask for your workplace will be one that meets the appropriate FFP rating, and is comfortable and convenient for your workers. Here is a quick guide to the protection levels provided by different face mask ratings:
|Protection Level||OEL Protection||APF Protection|
Other Protections Against Coronavirus
Hand Sanitiser and Gloves
Become obsessed with hand cleaning, avoid contact with animals and surfaces that lots of people touch such as door handles and other surfaces. Washing with soap and water is fine, but while on the move a high alcohol content hand sanitiser is advised!
These alcohol gel products kill bacteria and viruses very effectively. Stock up on this and use it liberally, it does not require water to work so it’s ideal for on the move.
Disposable protective clothing whenever you are forced to leave your home will keep the risk of bringing the virus into your home at a minimum. I would advise that these are kept in your cars and your home, when used in conjunction with a mask and gloves you’re going to be very well protected. Change out of these before entering your home and immediately shower/wash if you have been in contact with the infection.
If things escalate the best place to be is in your home and you will want to avoid leaving and risk exposing yourself to the outside world…
Stockpiling essentials could become necessary, some of these products may be:
- Disinfectants that kill viruses
- Surface cleaners and cleaning products