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Since COVID-19 began it’s spread at the end of 2019, face masks have become a common sight. They can help to protect us from infected droplets when someone coughs or sneezes. These droplets can otherwise be very easily breathed in or transmitted via the nose.
What are Hygiene Face Masks?
KN95 face masks are coverings of the mouth and nose and are ideal for use in situations where protection of the respiratory system is needed. Some industries require the use of face masks, including agricultural and construction workers, medical staff and those working in a pharmaceutical or laboratory environment. At times when you may be caring for someone who is carrying a virus, the use of a face mask may be wise as they can help to stop the spread of the illness to you.
There are several masks available on the market which have been tested and confirmed to be effective at reducing the infection of viruses. The US and Chinese equivalent of the UK’s Filtering Face Piece (FFP2) available from Click pharmacy is the KN95 face masks. These masks have been confirmed as having the effective specifications required for filtering and reducing the transmission of infection to or from the wearer.
3 ply surgical masks are an alternative option of protection. They are quick to put on and an easy way to help prevent larger infected droplets from being passed on.
Other variations found on face masks include the addition of a valve which, when built-in, allows air to be let out making them feel breathable. An unvalved mask has the filtration system built into the fabric and may feel more lightweight. Some masks come with a moulded shape meaning they offer a closer fit to your nose, mouth and chin which potentially makes them more effective at protecting the wearer from infected particles. Folded masks, such as surgical masks, are an alternative option and due to their light material are breathable and easy to carry with you.
Are face masks effective protection against viruses?
One study has clarified that a surgical mask is designed to protect the environment from the infected wearer, whereas FFP respirators (also known as KN95/N95) are primarily designed to protect the wearer themselves (such as a carer, nurse or doctor) from the infected environment. As such, those working on the front line of any viral outbreak, including those caring for an ill person at home, are ideally required to wear a minimum of an FFP2 respirator. If you are caring for a vulnerable or shielded person at home, an FFP2 mask could also be beneficial to them.
FFP2 (N95) v FFP3 v Surgical face masks
Both the FFP2 and FFP3 respirator masks meet the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) standard for respiratory protection and have been recommended for use during both the SARs and COVID-19 outbreaks for caregivers and front line professionals respectively.
UK approved face masks can be purchased online for next day delivery from Click Pharmacy.
How to wear a face mask?
Place the mask over your nose and mouth before bringing the elastic over your head so as to position the mask comfortably with the lower elastic at the nape of the neck and the upper band sitting at the widest part of the head. You do not want the metal bridge at the nose fitting too tightly but close enough to offer protection.
A surgical mask should be placed over the nose and mouth, stretched gently over the chin and fitted as close as possible to the face. The top string ties at the crown of the head and the lower string at the nape of the neck. Ideally, this mask should be changed and carefully disposed of every 4 hours.
Other protective measures?
Aside from wearing a face mask, there are other simple, protective measures we can all take in a bid to protect ourselves from infection of COVID-19 or, in fact, any virus. They include:
To discuss your personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements, please feel free to call Click Pharmacy and speak to one of our health care specialists.
11 March 2020
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