Updated: Aug 3, 2020
Antiviral face masks
Along with other protective measures, such as social or physical distancing and proper hand hygiene, face masks are an easy, inexpensive, and potentially effective way to stay safe and flatten the COVID-19 curve.
Health agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), now encourage all people to wear masks or face coverings when out in public.
So, which type of face mask works best for avoiding transmission of the new coronavirus when you’re out in public?
The largest amount of viral shedding, or transmission, happens early in the course of the disease. Therefore, people may be contagious before they even start to show symptoms.
What types of face masks work best?
FFP2 vs FFP3
The diameter of the coronavirus is estimated to be 125 nanometers (nm). Keeping this in mind, it’s helpful to know that:
FFP2 masks filter out a minimum of 95% of these particles.
FFP3 masks can filter out 99% of these particles.
Valved respirators allow exhaled air to get out, making it easier for the user to breathe. However, the downside of this is that other people are susceptible to the particles and pathogens that are exhaled through these valves.
There are various types of surgical masks. Typically, these disposable, single-use masks are cut into a rectangle shape with pleats that expand to cover your nose, mouth, and jawline. They are composed of breathable synthetic fabric.