Posted on 06/05/2020

Understanding the different types of face masks and how they work

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Understanding the different types of face masks and how they work

Face masks are worn to help prevent someone from inhaling or exhaling harmful particles and droplets which can prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses, including the current coronavirus. However, different types of masks offer various levels of protection and are used for different purposes. Here we explore some of the main distinctions between various medical masks and feature the range of masks offered at NRS Healthcare.

What makes our medical masks different?

It’s important to realise that many medical masks are currently being sold online without the correct medical certification, meaning they may not be as effective when it comes to protecting against the spread and contraction of viruses and potentially harmful bacteria.

All face masks available on the NRS Healthcare website are certified medical devices and we reference this by showing a copy of the medical certificate on each of our mask product pages. In our next section, we talk about the types of face masks available and the differences between them.

What is the difference between surgical masks and other medical masks?

NRS Healthcare supplies a number of face masks which all form part of our comprehensive Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) range. We offer Type 1, Type II, Type IIR and FFP2 face masks, all of which are tested and certified medical devices.

Type 1, Type II and Type IIR surgical masks are all ideal for use in public areas and socially distanced environments, with ear loops and mouldable nose bands to ensure a close fit. These surgical masks help to stop the spread of saliva or respiratory secretions exhaled by the person wearing it, making them a great option to help stop the spread of viruses and potentially harmful bacteria. It’s worth noting that the fluid resistant properties of Type IIR masks are specifically for close proximity environments such as care homes and hospitals and will protect against fluid transfer from coughs and sneezes. The World Health Organisation only certify Type IIR and FFP2 masks for use in a close clinical environment e.g. when working in a hospital with known COVID-19 patients.

FFP2 masks are a different type of medical mask that prevent the wearer from inhaling particles and vapours. Also known as KN95 or N95, FFP2 certified masks filter out harmful particles effectively and can be used in settings where there are patients with possible or confirmed cases of COVID-19, as they can provide protection from the COVID-19 virus and are recommended by the World Health Organisation. FFP2 masks are also highly fluid resistant, helping to protect you from droplets when someone close to you coughs or sneezes.

NRS Healthcare offer a choice of face masks to suit your needs

As we mention above, Type 1, Type II and Type IIR surgical masks both offer plenty of protection when used at home or out in public and are manufactured to the European Type 1, Type II and Type IIR standard. Our Type 1 surgical masks have a tested 95% bacteria filtration efficiency and our Type II and Type IIR surgical masks have a bacterial filtration efficiency of 98%. All of these surgical masks feature an integrated nose band and elasticated ear loops to ensure a close fit.

Our FFP2 face masks are tested to 99.9% bacterial filtration and are available as a pack of ten or a pack of 20. Every mask is individually wrapped and rated to stop 95% of particles greater than 0.3 microns in size. These masks are thicker than a standard medical mask and should be fitted to the wearer using the adjustable nose band and soft tension straps for optimum protection in line with government guidelines.

Why it is vital to use masks correctly

All masks used in a medical or care setting must meet European Standards to ensure that they provide the protection people need and be correctly fitted to the person to ensure they offer maximum protection. When in use, face masks must be worn and disposed of in the correct way. They must still be utilised in combination with recommended hand hygiene and other infection prevention and control (IPC) measures.

We encourage you to browse our comprehensive range of PPE, which includes face masks, disposable aprons and other products for cleaning and disinfection purposes, to help ensure you stay safe and well.

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