top of page

Face Masks - Corona Virus

How confusing is it, with regard to all the conflicting advice on the use of face masks to protect us from Corona virus!

The trouble is, there are too many negative comments stating, 'masks don't work'.

In fact, wearing the correct mask but wearing/handling it correctly, can offer huge protection from viruses.

To put the difference between face masks very basically, there are generally three types people are currently wearing:

1) Scarf, or homemade material mask. 2) Surgical mask. 3) FFP3 respirator mask.

1) The scarf, or homemade mask can at most, provide only a minimal, if any degree of protection, but it can also give a false sense of protection, which has its own risks.

It's not going to give you full virus protection, due to the fact that the virus is so small, it can easily travel straight through the fabric. In addition, the scarf is not going to fit snuggly around the face.

The risk could be, that if the virus is attracted and trapped onto the scarf, then when taking the scarf off and then reusing it, you could be transmitting the virus onto your hands and even straight back onto your face, as there is no 'inside' or 'outside' to the fabric. Thorough 20 second hand washing or using an alcohol rub immediately before and after wearing this sort of mask is important.

Scarf/Homemade fabric mask


2) The Surgical mask, is for single use, and is commonly used in a medical environment, by the practitioner, to mainly protect the patient, from droplets from the practitioner. It does little to protect the practitioner from outside viruses.

Similar to the scarf or home made mask, they can give a false sense of security, so that the user, may become complacent when handling the mask. They don't fit snuggly, either.

Before applying the mask, hand washing or using an alcohol rub should always be done. Try not to touch the actual mask when putting it on, only hold the ear loops.

After removal, it's very important to wash the hands thoroughly. This is because, the mask could be trapping the virus, so should you touch the mask on removal, you could be transferring the virus onto your hands.

Surgical Face Mask


3) FFP3 Respirator mask, these mask can provide up to 100% protection from viruses. They fit snuggly to the face and have a metal nose clip, which needs to be squeezed around the bridge of the nose to provide a good seal. The mask is made of layers of material that can filter out particulates as well as viruses. They still need to be handled correctly, with correct hand washing or alcohol rub before and after wearing. The valve on the side, allows ease of breathing.

FFP3 Respirator Mask

------------------------------------------------------------- World Health Organisation and Government guidelines still state that the best form of protection is by social distancing (at least 2 metres/6 foot) apart from others and regular, thorough hand washing. As the virus lives on surfaces (especially hard surfaces, such as metal and plastic) for many hours, and is probably the main way it is being transmitted around.

Below is a short World Health Organisation video on the correct way to wear a surgical mask.

26 views0 comments


bottom of page