COVID-19 is believed to primarily pass from person to person through respiratory droplets and contaminated surfaces, so properly used face masks can act as a barrier to help prevent its spread.
There are different types of face masks that serve different purposes.
- The standard surgical mask, also known as a fluid-resistant surgical mask (FRSM), is designed to provide a barrier to splashes and droplets impacting the wearer’s nose, mouth, and respiratory tract. It fits fairly loosely to the user’s face. These single-use masks are used for a variety of procedures in the community as well as hospital settings. They should be changed when they become moistened or damaged, and should not be undone and dangled around the neck between procedures. It should be worn with eye protection.
- The respirator mask, also known as N95 mask is used to prevent the user from inhaling small airborne particles in aerosol-generating procedures (AGPs). It must fit tightly to the user’s face. There are three categories: FFP1, FFP2 and FFP3. FFP3 provides the highest level of protection. Again, this mask must be worn with eye protection.
- FFP masks have a minimum of 95% filtration percentage and maximum 8% leakage to the inside. They are mainly used in construction, agriculture, and by healthcare professionals against influenza viruses. They are currently used for protection against the coronavirus.
Below is a picture indicating the different types of facemasks and how effective they are in preventing the spread of Coronavirus: