Are Surgical Masks FFP Masks?

With face coverings turning into mandatory conveyance on the fifteenth Gregorian calendar month, you want to recognize what sort of masks to wear to remain safe. This text details the variations between FFP respirators and surgical masks to help you create help decisions and keep you safe at the station, onboard, and beyond. 

The two varieties of face covering

Face coverings area unit divided into two categories: surgical masks and respirators. The first purpose of surgical masks is to be used as a medical device. In contrast, the respirators area unit is used as personal protection equipment (PPE) by caregivers and contagious patients.

The level of protection depends on the sort of face covering. The overwhelming majority of surgical masks don't seem to be allotted a security rating. In contrast, respirators embody safety ratings (we can discuss safety ratings within the later section - 'What area unit FFP Respirators?) 

What is a surgical mask?

A surgical mask could be a disposable medical device that protects against infectious agents transmitted by droplets. However, it doesn't defend against mobile particles, which implies it'll not stop the user from potential virus contamination. 

Surgical masks serve two primary purposes:

- Prevents secretion droplets and secretions from the tract once the user exhales. If worn by a caregiver, the mask protects the patient and the atmosphere (air, surfaces, equipment). If worn by a patient, it'll stop them from contaminating their immediate atmosphere.

- Protects the user against transmission via droplets and the risk of turning into infected by biological fluids. For the latter, the surgical mask should have a water-proof layer, with any reinforcement coming back within the sort of a visor that gives eye protection.

Typical uses for surgical masks

- medical specialty

- Surgery

- varied medical procedures

- Self-isolation

What is a respirator?

A respirator could be a PPE style that forestalls the user from breathing dangerous agents, like aerosols (e.g., dust, smoke) and gases (e.g., anesthetic gases, disinfectants). Respirators additionally defend the user from mobile infectious agents, like coronaviruses (i.e., Covid-19, MERS, and SARS).

What area unit FFP respirators? 

Filtering Facepiece Respirators (FFP) include a facepiece and a filtering device. The filter sort determines the amount of protection offered, such as FFP1 respirators area unit appropriate for low-level dirt and water-based mists. FFP2s supply enlarged protection against moderate levels of dirt, water-based mists, and oil. FFP3 compliant respirators area units are usually used for higher-level dirt, biological agents, and amphibole removal.

It ought to even be noted that respirators defend wearers from breathing agent droplets.

FFP respirators vs. surgical masks 

Surgical Masks

  • Loose-fitting, covering the nose and mouth
  • Offer unidirectional protection captures bodily fluids expelled by the wearer.
  • Contrary to widespread belief, surgical masks aren't designed to safeguard the user.
  • The overwhelming majority of surgical masks don't have an Associate in Nursing assigned safety rating.

FFP Respirators

  • Tight-fitting to form a facial seal
  • Two-way protection, filtering each influx and outflow of air.
  • Designed to safeguard the wearer up to the mask's safety rating
  • Available in disposable, half-face, and forward variants

How to select the proper face covering?

Several criteria ought to be thought-about once selecting a face-covering:

  • Which style of face-covering is required?

As we've got lined, surgical masks and respirators have entirely different functions and objectives. The critical side in mind is that surgical masks solely defend against infectious agents transmitted via droplets, whereas respirators also safeguard against mobile infectious agents' inhalation.

  • Application

The use of a face covering is decided by the geographical point atmosphere and the potential presence of contagious diseases. As an example, FFP1 respirators are also appropriate in low-risk things, whereas FFP3 respirators are essential in higher-risk industries.

  • Disposable or reusable

Surgical masks area units are solely obtainable as disposable. Respirators, on the other hand, are typically reusable. With respirators, it's additionally potential to exchange their filter once it's full.

  • Comfort

There are units completely different sizes of masks obtainable, that area unit adjustable to the wearer's morphology. Some respirators may be equipped with AN exhalation valve, which boosts breathability, whereas others are units fitted with a visor to supply eye protection.

How to use a face covering?

Certain precautions ought to be taken once fitting a surgical mask or respirator. See below for a step-by-step guide on the way to use a face covering.

  • Holding the mask by its ties, apply the foremost cushioned facet to your face
  • Ensure the strip is up at the nose
  • Position the higher ties on the top's highest and the lower ties at the neck level. To do this, check that the mask is correctly flat
  • The mask ought to cowl the nose, mouth, and chin
  • When fitting a respirator, you'll be able to check if it fits appropriately by closing the filter surface and breathing slowly
  • If the mask molds around your face, it's well placed
  • Once you've got fitted the covering, avoid touching or placement it till it's time to require it off
  • Surgical masks ought to be a minimum of 3 hours; respirators ought to get replaced each 3 to eight hours
  • Ensure you wash your hands before and once every amendment
  • After use, surgical masks ought to be disposed of at once within the acceptable manner

Which surgical masks or respirators defend against coronavirus? 

It's suggested that caregivers wear a respirator of a minimum of category FFP2 or FFP3 to make sure most filtration of aerosols and particles once caring for an infected patient. Patients, on the opposite hand, ought to wear a surgical mask as shortly contagion is suspected.


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