Do you want to know all about the different types of PPE masks? In this article, we will be telling you all about the different types of PPE face masks, disposable vs. reusable face masks, and whether or not to reuse disposable face masks.
Disposable Face Masks
Disposable face masks have gained enormous popularity since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. While some people adore how lightweight and convenient the disposable masks are in comparison to reusable cloth masks, their necessity previously was just limited to medical appointments.
Nowadays, disposable masks have become a top recommendation for Covid stricken patients. These masks are made of numerous layers of polypropylene. They are specifically flattened, moulded, or pleated to the face. These come as elastic ear-loop type or tie-on which have ties to fasten around the head.
Different Types Of Face Masks UK-Explained
1 Surgical Or Medical Masks:
Surgical or blue-pleated medical masks can filter large droplets usually produced by someone talking loudly and coughing. They are moisture repellent, can filter the tiniest of aerosol particles, and fit comfortably. They are similar to reusable face masks that limit the spread of any viral particles. They are single-use masks easily found at pharmacies or high street stores. They come with a nose wire and elastic ear straps.
For dental or medical environments, it’s important that these meet the required UK and European standards and are classed as TypeII or TypeIIR. Both are surgical-grade masks but the TypeIIR is certified as fluid-resistant and vital for any AGP (Aerosol Generating Procedure) environment.
2 FFP Respirator Masks:
FFP or Filtering Face Piece masks are basically close-fitted masks. They provide much higher protection from fine aerosol particles and larger droplets. These masks can be said to be equivalent roughly to the N95 masks. They should be fitted perfectly for effective use. They are more expensive and technically single-use masks. People living in areas of high coronavirus transmission should prefer using these masks. The higher-grade or FFP2 or FFP3 masks provide greater protection as they filter finer aerosols from coming in.
For dental or medical environments, it’s important that these meet the required UK and European standards and are classed as FFP2 or FFP3. In the UK, the masks need to be fit-tested by a qualified fit-tester to ensure the specific mask in suited to the wearer as a perfect fit is essential for them to work effectively. FFP3 provides over 99% BFE (Bacterial Filtration Efficiency) and is required for close work to infection transmission risk such as Covid wards or dental surgeries.
3 Dust Or Valve Masks:
Most hardware stores sell dust or valve masks. These masks have been designed for people in DIY or construction jobs. The valve present in these masks makes it hard for the person to breathe. It filters what goes in while breathing in, but it does not filter out what’s breathed out. Hence, they do not make the best face masks for limiting the spread of the epidemic. Please be aware that not all or these masks are suited to medical or dental environments.
4 Semi-Reusable Masks:
Semi-reusable masks are made from material similar to the one used in disposable masks. These masks can not only be worn but also washed out several times. They can similar somewhat similar to disposable masks but won’t make a smart choice for situations where high transmission risk is involved. Some semi-reusable masks are suited to medical environments if they have replaceable disposable filters.
Disposable Vs. Reusable Face Masks
The blue-pleated disposable surgical-style masks offer basic protection against splashes and large droplets which have been considered to be the main factors for transmission, but not from smaller particles. They also provide rudimentary protection.