The FFP2 protective mask is heavily underutilized in the fight against widespread diseases like Coronaviruses. While the traditional medicinal masks are efficient, they are no way near the protection levels offered by FFP2 face masks.
The Difference Between a Medical Mask and an FFP2 Protective Mask
FFP2 dust protective face masks are meant to offer protection against airborne particles but can also block droplets that can carry pathogens. Regular medicinal masks only protect against droplets. Many viruses get transmitted from one person to another via droplets that travel through the air. Medicinal masks can block these droplets when the contamination source is in front of the person wearing the mask. On the sides, medicinal masks do not sit tightly over the face, leaving some gaps that can allow droplets to pass through and inhales.
This issue that medicinal masks have is not valid for FFP2 masks. Due to their design, they fit better and provide better insulation against exterior contaminants. Depending on the quality of the mask, it can filter at least 94% of airborne particles. They are usually blue or white and have the same elastic straps on the sides to ensure a tight fit.
Comparing the two, FFP2 face masks are undoubtedly better at protecting individuals from different types of pathogens, pollutants, airborne particles, and even some gases.
A lot of people seem to think that FFP2 masks can make breathing difficult, even more so than traditional medicinal masks. Even though there have been numerous social media influencers that ran for great distances with a mask on just to prove that they are safe to use, there is still some resistance from the majority of the population when it comes to wearing them over longer periods.
FFP2 protective masks have several features that are meant to make it easier to breathe with them. They usually have an exhalation valve that allows the warm and humid air exhaled by the wearer to escape the mask. This valve reduces the moisture inside the mask, avoids condensation, and prevents the mask from becoming less permeable. Because these masks are made from thicker materials that block microscopic organisms and particles, these valves and filters are mandatory. Without them, breathing with such a mask will become very difficult.
Using FFP2 Face Masks Properly
An FFP2 protective mask is efficient only if it is used correctly. Yes, it is possible to make some minor mistakes that severely decrease their capacity to block harmful particles and organisms. The first thing to look at is the metal tab around the mask that can be adjusted to fit better onto the bridge of the nose. When a mask is put on, the metal tab needs to be properly adjusted to ensure proper insulation.
Another problem is facial hair. A beard can cause the mask to sit improperly and allow for gaps between the skin and the mask to appear which in turn allows small particles to get inside.
Lastly, the hands need to be properly washed right before putting the mask on. When taking the mask off, the wearer’s hands need to be immediately washed and avoid touching any other objects.