In this article we clarify which type of respirator or facemask is best suited for which purpose.
Commonly, all masks are called facemasks. A distinction must be made between cloth masks, medical-grade masks (surgical facemasks) and FFP half-face respirator masks. The common facemask, eventhough sterile and a product of medical-grade protects others rather than the person wearing it. Filtering half masks or respirator (FFP2/FFP3/KN95/N95), first and foremost, protect the person wearing the mask from splashes and aerosols produced by others. Cloth masks are not advisable as their filtration properties are very limited and they do not sufficiently prevent the exchange of aerosols which results in a higher risk of transmission.
Medical-grade disposable facemasks or surgical masks are popular and many people like to use them in everyday life. They are easy to put on and hardly affect respiration. It is essential to wear only certified masks. Unfortunately, many products that are labeled incorrectly or incompletely are circulating. Officially approved masks, such as the Type II and Type IIR medical-grade facemasks from Virshields, are labeled in accordance with DIN EN 14683. They have a multi-layer structure and are made of special fleece. Surgical masks primarily protect others from emitted secretions. In general, medical respiratory masks are intended for single use.
In contrast to medical facemasks, FFP2 masks (filtering face piece) also protect the person wearing the mask. These half-face respirators are divided into the following classes according to their permeability to small particles such as dust or viruses:
- FFP1 masks filter 80 percent of the pollutants in the air we breathe.
- FFP2 masks filter 95 percent of pollutants and aerosols.
- FFP3 masks filter up to 99 percent of pollutants and aerosols.
As it is the case for facemasks, FFP masks must meet legal requirements. These are specified throughout Europe in the DIN EN 149:2009-08 standard. The FFP2 masks from Virshields comply with the extended DIN EN 149:2001+A1:2009 for respiratory protection masks. They are provided with the mandatory CE label and standards. Among other things, a four-digit identification number of the testing facility on the FFP mask clearly distinguishes the product. If a filtering halfe-face piece is your choice of protective measure against the Corona virus, for example, the FFP2 standard or higher-level respirator is recommended.
Masks for children
Respiratory protection for children should not make breathing difficult. The mask should fit comfortably yet securely. The strapping should be such that the child can remove the mask on its own without difficulties.To avoid injury, children should not wear masks when playing on equipment such as slides or swings. Virshields offers certified and tested masks for children.