Although wearing a mask can reduce the risk of droplets and contact infection, the protective effect is very limited. Although in most cases, the virus enters the human body through the mouth or eyes, the role of hands in epidemic prevention is even more important.
Surgical masks are usually used at the same time as eye masks for better protection. However, its greatest effect is not to intercept virus-containing aerosols, but to always remind users not to touch their noses with their hands, let alone rub their eyes.
After the epidemic hit, medical staff seldom wear simple surgical masks. In most cases, they will wear professional masks with more powerful filtering functions.
FFP mask has the best protection effect
FFP (filtering face piece) masks have micro-particle filtering devices. According to the different levels of protection, the European Union divides FFP masks into three levels. FFP has a filter non-woven interlayer, which can fix the virus on the mask by means of electrostatic principle. Most of the disposable FFP masks are made of cellulose and have a filter unit attached. There are also FFP masks made of plastic materials. It is worth mentioning that for FFP masks equipped with exhaust valves, the wearer may still transfer their own virus to the surrounding people.
Although FFP1 masks have better protective effects than surgical masks, their effectiveness in protecting against viruses is not ideal. This type of mask is actually designed for the workers to prevent them from inhaling the dust and causing bodily harm. For example, saw wood workers wear FFP1 masks to prevent sawdust particles from being inhaled into the lungs. The mason wears this kind of mask when mixing the cement, which can also prevent the floating dust from being inhaled into the body.
Throughout the epidemic, FFP2 masks have been used more and more frequently in hospitals and nursing homes. This kind of mask can provide quite good protection for the wearer, but it is not recommended to use it when contacting highly infectious patients.
When the epidemic just broke out in Germany in 2020, due to the severe shortage of medical protection materials, the Robert Koch Institute once agreed to use FFP2 masks in emergency medical institutions for infectious diseases. This decision caused a lot of controversy among medical staff at that time. Fortunately, the shortage of high-quality masks no longer exists in hospital departments where the risk of infection is high.
Only the FFP3 mask with the highest level of protection can protect the wearer from inhaling fine substances such as aerosols, viruses, and bacteria. As long as it is worn correctly, it can even block extremely dangerous asbestos fibers.
Medical staff must wear FFP3 masks when they come into contact with highly contagious patients. At the same time, they must wear protective goggles, rubber gloves and disposable protective suits or aprons.
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