There are many types of antivirus masks, but which are the most effective?
Thanks to the arrival of summer, the vaccination campaign and the common sense of the Italians, for a few weeks we have been witnessing a significant lowering of the Covid-19 transmissibility index throughout the national territory. However, attention remains high on basic hygiene rules, respect for the safety distance and the use of antivirus masks indoors. Washable or disposable, these devices represent a valid protection of the upper airways from volatile micro-particles. By visiting the Italian MaskHaze mask shop you can buy Ffp2 and Kn95 at a good price and above all of quality. But which ones to choose and based on what criteria?
Antivirus masks: types and models
The risk of contracting the Coronavirus is not completely eradicated. The spread of new foreign variants continues to cause concern, despite vaccines and various treatments. The mask, a must in indoor environments, is the only effective protection system, supported by correct hand hygiene and a safe distance.
There are so many personal protective equipment currently on the market, but with different usefulness and functionality. Here it is necessary to remember its characteristics one at a time
– Surgical masks. Approved by the Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Policies, they have a great filtering capacity towards the outside. Consisting of a triple layer of non-woven fabric, they block any respiratory secretions, preventing the leakage of potentially infected droplets and droplets. Disposable, they last no more than one day after which they lose their effectiveness. They are not ideal to wear for an extended stay in heavily contaminated areas. They are equipped with elastic or laces to pass or tie behind the ears or on the nape of the neck.
– Ffp1 masks. They protect from non-toxic, non-fibrogenic dust and filter up to 80% of the dust naturally present in the air. They are therefore unable to block the passage of the volatile micro-particles of the virus, exposing the airways to possible contagion.
– Ffp2 masks. They fall within the PPE and have a filtering capacity of 92%. They protect from aerosols and fumes which, in the long term, can cause respiratory diseases. Available in the version with or without valve, the disposable models must be replaced after 6 hours of intense use.
– Ffp3 bezels. PPE par excellence, they have a filtering capacity of 98%. They protect against all particles, including aggressive and invisible particles of bacteria, viruses and fungi. They must be replaced after 6 hours of use, both in the disposable and washable variant, for which immediate washing is required.
– N95 and Kn95 faceplates. If worn correctly, they are able to guarantee 95% protection from the virus. They are only available in the disposable version and must be replaced every 8 hours. Beware of scams: before purchasing it is good to check that they are correctly approved and therefore that they are marked with the CE mark and not “CE” (acronym for China Export).
– Fabric anti-virus masks. Equipped with a certified filter, they only offer protection from larger viral particles. They are not yet universally regulated but usually each manufacturer has them subjected to detailed verification tests, to provide more guarantees to buyers regarding safety and efficacy. At the same level of protection, they can be even more comfortable than surgical masks. After each use they should be washed by hand or in the washing machine at 60 degrees and preferably with a detergent with a sanitizing action.
Which masks to buy and selection criteria
Antivirus masks offer different performances and characteristics, so for a careful and informed choice it is good to evaluate the different contexts and risks.
In everyday life, wearing a face mask is useful to prevent contagion in not excessively dangerous environments, where the viral load is never too high. For this reason, fabric or surgical models are allowed for shopping, grocery shopping or a walk in the open air.
However, there are contexts in which the risk of contracting the disease is quite high, such as in an office or other crowded environments (schools, shopping centers, clubs) where the ventilation system is not sufficient to change the air adequately. In this case, it is a good idea to choose a filter-type antivirus mask such as a certified Ffp2 or Kn95 without a valve. This accessory, in fact, makes the PPE “selfish” that is it protects the wearer but not those next to or in front of it, because it allows the passage of potentially infected micro-particles of saliva. The Ffp2 and Kn95 masks are also perfect in case of assistance to the elderly or to people with compromised immune systems.
Hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, ambulances are places potentially at risk. Doctors and health personnel (including volunteers) in contact with infected patients require greater protection, which is only possible thanks to Ffp3. Should Covid enter the home, it is absolutely necessary to equip oneself with Ffp2, Kn95 or even Ffp3 masks to avoid infecting other family members.
To slow down the flow of infections it is important to choose only certified protection devices. The same applies to fabric masks as well. Very fashionable and comfortable, they must however guarantee a good level of protection and filtering of the virus, otherwise the expense would be completely useless.
Antivirus masks and filtering tests
Available in different colors, for adults and children, antivirus masks to be effective must pass rigorous filtering tests, as mentioned above. But what do they consist of specifically?
Before large-scale distribution, the manufacturers subject the face masks to three main tests:
– bacterial filtration efficiency test (or BFE). Control filtration using 3.0 micron droplets containing Staphylococcus aureus, a Gram-positive bacterium that causes nosocomial infections and severe disease. In order to pass the test, the device must have a response speed of 95% (for medical-surgical masks). The value must rise to 98-99% for PPE with moderate and high protection levels.
– Particulate (or PFE) filtration efficiency test. Verify the filtering capabilities of submicron particles, using a particle size of 0.1 micron.
– Viral filtration efficiency test (or VFE). The procedure is similar to BFE, with the only difference being that the phiX174 bacteriophage, which is a single-stranded DNA virus, is adopted.
To check the degree of protection and filtering capacity, the masks are exposed to a current of air containing a bacterial aerosol. The process has six main phases, during which data is collected, counting the aerosols introduced by the flow and, at the same time, checking that no other microorganisms cross the filter barrier.
In conclusion, before purchasing it is good to consider the different conditions of use of an antivirus mask. Only certified and approved devices should be chosen that can guarantee an adequate degree of protection for the risk. Any degradation of the construction material can question the real effectiveness and usefulness of the device, so it is good to remember to periodically replace the product and always take advantage of the anti-contagion rules (distance and hand hygiene), which in any case are at the basis of the prevention of many other viral and bacterial diseases.
Undecided on where to buy safe, efficient masks, equipped with all the certifications and which have passed the various tests? On the online shops you can choose between different types of antivirus masks ideal for everyday life, but also among many washable, colorful and comfortable models. In case of high risk of contagion, the Ffp2 and Ffp3 are available in packs of 5, 10, 15 and 25 pieces. Synonymous with quality, they are a guarantee of safety and protection. The use of water-repellent materials and natural fibers ensures a high tolerability of the skin, without irritation .