Which Mask Offers the Best Protection?

There are different types of masks available in the market, and it is important to know the differences between the masks.

Not long ago, PPE, also known as respiratory protection masks, were work tools used to protect people's respiratory tracts from dirt and other harmful elements in industries such as construction. Additionally, surgical masks were mainly used by healthcare workers.

Efficacy of Face mask FFP2, surgical

However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of those masks has shifted. Today, masks are worn not just by healthcare workers or construction workers but also by individuals. Because of the virus, masks are worn by everyone, regardless of who they are and the type of mask they wear.

What Differentiates A Hygienic Mask, Surgical Mask, And Respiratory Protection Mask?

Masks can be worn anywhere. However, their efficacy depends on what you expect from them. Although masks may be worn the same way, their effectiveness concerning COVID-19 vary.

Hygienic Mask

A hygienic mask is a mask that does not necessarily have to fulfil any regulation. However, if you are going to buy a hygienic mask, it is best to choose a mask that complies with CWA 17553:2020 for Europe, or UNE 0064 or UNE 0065 in Spain.

  • CWA 17553:2020 – reusable and disposable, has a breathability of <70 pa / cm2, and a filtration of  > 70% or > 90%
  • UNE 0064 – single-use, has a breathability of <60 pa / cm2, and filtration of ≥ 95%
  • UNE 0065 – reusable, has a breathability of <60 pa / cm2, and filtration of ≥ 90%

Hygienic masks limit the spread of breath and speech particles. This type of mask is best to prevent transmission. However, they provide low protection to the one wearing them.

Surgical Mask

A surgical mask can only be used once. Although this type of mask was used primarily by the healthcare field, because of the virus, many individuals wear them. The main task of this mask is to protect the one wearing it from sprays or large-particle droplets. Additionally, it prevents the transmission of the virus from whoever is wearing it to others. Surgical masks are classified according to their EFB, short for Bacterial Filtration Efficiency.

  • Type I – has a breathability of <40 pa /cm2, a filtration of > 95%, and a microbial cleanliness of (cfu / g) ≤ 30
  • Type II – has a breathability of <40 pa /cm2, a filtration of > 98%, and microbial cleanliness of (cfu / g) ≤ 30
  • Type IIR – has a breathability of <60 pa/ cm2, a filtration of 98%, and microbial cleanliness of  (cfu / g) ≤ 30

There are many surgical mask designs. However, the mask usually tends to be flat, rectangular, and with folds. Additionally, a metal strip is commonly found on the top of the mask.

PPE: Respiratory Protection Mask

A respiratory protection mask protects whoever is wearing it from inhaling airborne contaminants. PPE masks are produced in three divisions: FFP1, FFP2, and FFP3. FFP is an abbreviation for Filtering Face Piece.

  • FFP1 – has a filtration of ≥ 80%, and it DOES NOT PROTECT from COVID-19
  • FFP2 – has a filtration of ≥ 94% and PROTECTS from COVID-19
  • FFP3 – has a filtration of ≥ 99% and PROTECTS from COVID-19

The most significant difference between the PPE and surgical mask is that the PPE protects from inhaling airborne particles. In contrast, a surgical mask prevents the wearer from spreading airborne particles. 

FFP Mask Covid-19

Some masks were specifically made to protect oneself from COVID-19. The production of this mask was done with the recommendation of the World Health Organization. The efficacy of this mask against covid-19 is similar to the one of the FFP2.

This mask is probably the mask that provides the best protection against the coronavirus. AITEXT made tests with those masks, and according to the results, this mask has a filtration of 98%.

With all the tests and researches done in the past few months, the COVID-19 and FFP2 are considered the masks that offer the best protection against the coronavirus. Both of these masks can be used by healthcare workers and front-line workers as well as ordinary individuals. They are very efficient in crowded environments or in environments where people do not wear their masks properly. These masks offer optimal protection against COVID-19.