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What is the Best Mask to Prevent Coronavirus Infection?

A recent outbreak of the new coronavirus has truly shaken the whole world. There is news about this pandemic in the headlines every day. Kind of scary actually.


Firstly, I would kindly advise you to visit the CDC website for accurate information about the new coronavirus and as a result, a COVID-19 disease.

Under the “How to Protect Yourself” segment of the website, there is a statement, that you don’t need a facemask to protect yourself if you are healthy. Only wear it if you are displaying symptoms of coronavirus disease to prevent the spread of the virus to others.

Please keep in mind that there is a shortage of protection masks around the globe and they should be saved for caregivers. Please, consider this before buying anything.

I also encourage you to daily follow this man on Youtube, dr. John Campbell, an academic and A&E (accident and emergency) nurse of 40 years.

He daily makes videos regarding the pandemic and providing accurate information, sourced from medical journals and his experience working in the healthcare sector.

The every-day videos include updates on the international implications of the pandemic, tips for protecting oneself and one’s family, and an explanation of the mechanics of virus transmission, statistics, and so on.

Please, for the sake of all of us, stay informed and follow the advice given:

Tuesday, 24th of March update: His video with a very important and strong message. Please, please, watch and share:

“2 meters distance determines our existence.” – Dr. John Campbell

Also please watch this video. A great 8-minute explanation video about Coronavirus and the whole situation we are now facing. Very, very educational!

The Coronavirus Explained & What You Should Do

Stay safe.

Even with some basic preventive actions, we can slow down the spreading of the virus. This means also choosing the right mask to prevent (or at least lower the chance) the coronavirus to reach your respiratory system and infect you.

There are different types of masks on the market, and not all of them are really effective against this virus. So, which masks may be actually protective?


Types of Masks against the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2

There are two main type of mask: surgical and respirators.


A Surgical Mask

A surgical mask protects against infection agents, transmitted by droplets (saliva or secretions from the upper respiratory tract when exhaling).

This means it protects the patient from the caregiver. If it is worn by a contagious patient, the mask prevents him from contamination environment and people surrounding him. They are being worn out after 3 to 8 hours of use.

These surgical masks protect also the patient from biological fluids if the mask has a waterproof layer.

However, a surgical mask DOES NOT protect against airborne infectious agents.


A Respirator

A respirator is a device that prevents the wearer from inhaling aerosol materials such as mist, smoke, dust, vapors, gases. They also protect the wearer from airborne infectious agents such as coronavirus, H1N1, SARS, and such.


Mask Standards

Surgical masks and respirators each have different standards and regulations.

Surgical Masks Standards

In Europe, they must follow the European standard EN 14683 with 3 levels of filtration efficiency. BFE1 BFE2 and Type R.

In the United States, they must follow the ASTM standards, also with 3 levels of protection. From low to high risk of exposure to fluids.

They test the direction from inside to outside (direction of EXhalation).


Respirator Masks Standards

In Europe, the respirators must follow the European standard EN 149: 2001 which has 3 levels of particulate respirators (FFP1, FFP2 and FFP3).

  • FFP1 – aerosol filtration of at least 80% and leakage to the inside of a maximum of 22%. These respirators are mainly used as a dust mask for protection at various types of work.
  • FFP2 – aerosol filtration of at least 94% filtration percentage and a maximum of 8% leakage to the inside. These types of respirators are used in construction, agriculture, and against influenza viruses. They are suitable for protection against the coronavirus.
  • FFP3 – aerosol filtration of at least 99% filtration percentage and a maximum of 2% leakage to the inside. These respirators are the best filtering mask and they protect against also very fine particles such as asbestos.

In the United States, respirators must follow NIOSH standards. There are following classes of respirators depending on the oil resistance.

  • Class N: no oil resistance. A distinction is made between N95, N99, and N100. The numbers indicate the percentage of filtration of suspended particles (95, 99 and 100%)
  • Class R: respirator is resistant to oil for up to eight hours. Also, the number represents the percentage of suspended particles. R95, R99, and R100.
  • Class P: This is a completely oil-resistant respirator. Also P95, P99, and P100.


Which type of masks protect against coronavirus?

  • If you are a contagious patient: As soon as the infection is suspected, a patient should wear a surgical mask so you minimize the possibility to infect others.
  • If you are not infected: According to CDC, you need to wear a respirator of at least class FFP2 or N95 for the maximum filtration of aerosols and particles.

This means the best mask to prevent coronavirus infection is a respirator mask and NOT a surgical mask.

But again, before buying a face mask, consider whether you need one in the first place. Facemasks may be in short supply and they should NOT run out for all the medical staff. Without them being healthy and operative, we are screwed anyway.

N95 Respirators selling on Amazon:

Last update on 2020-03-24.

Last update on 2020-03-23.

Last update on 2020-03-24.


Additional safety equipement

Hand Sanitizers:

Must contain at least 70% or alcohol.

Last update on 2020-04-10.

Last update on 2020-03-23.

You may also want to check Q&A on the World Health Organisation’s website to find more info on this new coronavirus and how to protect yourself poperly

Please keep in mind that the information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.


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