What Type of Face Mask Should I be Wearing?

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic the World Health Organisation (WHO) now advises the use of various face masks. With differing Government restrictions now in place across the respective countries of the UK, it is important to appreciate the differences between the masks / coverings and understand which type should be worn.
From scientific analysis, current research suggests that coronavirus is transmitted principally via respiratory droplets. Whilst there is no clear consensus to suggest that face masks are definitively effective in the prevention of all transmission, several studies do support and encourage the use of face coverings in public in addition to medical masks in healthcare environments.
The three main types of masks that are being utilised as part of ongoing preventative measures to combat the rate of transmission across the UK are outlined below.

Non-Medical Masks / Fabric Face Coverings

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that the general public use a cloth face covering when out of the house. This message is echoed by the UK Government and WHO guidelines which state that in circumstances where it is difficult to stay 2m away from others, the use of ‘three-layer, non-medical face coveringsis now advisable.
Studies have shown that using a combination of three layers fabricated using tightly woven fibres such as cotton, flannel or polyester are most effective. Such coverings should be worn on public transport, in shops or other crowded environments and whilst undertaking certain work duties.
N.B. The WHO also recommend that members of the public over 60 years of age and people with existing medical conditions should wear ‘medical masks’ when 2m social distancing is not possible.

Surgical / Medical Face Masks

Medical masks such as Type 1 and Type IIR (Fluid Resistant) are disposable forms of PPE that fit over the nose and mouth to defend against sizeable cough / sneeze droplets, splashes, or sprays. In times of national PPE shortage these types of masks should be used by healthcare workers, over 60’s and at-risk individuals.

Particulate Respirator Masks

Seal tested respiratory masks such as KN95, FFP2 or equivalent are typically 5-layer non-woven fibre construction which can filter pathogens in the air. They are designed to fit against the skin forming a seal around the mouth and nose. In times of national PPE shortage only healthcare workers should be wearing masks of this nature.
As a registered medical device business supplying approved product to the NHS, Orthotix is well placed to distribute accredited face masks to Healthcare Professionals and face coverings for public usage. Please visit our Face Masks & Coverings page to learn more about our product range which is stocked in our UK warehouse and available with next day delivery.
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