The use of face masks is especially important in many industries, such as medicine and the food industry. Disposable masks adapt to the face and do not limit breathing, providing high-level protection. Depending on the type of protective mask, it can be used in various areas.
Surgical masks – necessary in the medical industry
Surgical masks are widely used in medicine. They are necessary during surgery. Similarly to aprons and medical caps, they prevent specialist’s perspiration or saliva from entering the patient’s body. They are designed to protect against particles that have larger diameters than 0.10 microns.
In what other situations does the surgical mask apply?
- It is used in patients with cystic fibrosis because they are very sensitive to the action of microorganisms – for example mold or fungi.
- A surgical mask is recommended in wards where people affected by various viral diseases are found.
- This type of protection is required not only during surgery, but also during various treatments – for example, dental.
Disposable masks – split
A disposable surgical mask is the most recommended choice because of its versatility and ensuring an adequate level of safety. Disposable masks are cheap and perfectly filter inhaled and exhaled air. Among them we find masks of the type:
Type II surgical masks
- – Masks of this type are most often found in operating theaters. This type is made of polypropylene non-woven fabric and consists of three layers. Thanks to this, it is able to filter air up to 98%. Type II surgical masks are also resistant to seepage, protecting against potentially infectious fluids such as blood. This is effective protection for both patients and doctors. However, in order for them to fulfill their role as best as possible, they must be correctly fitted and perfectly fitted to the face. Their degree of protection decreases after a few hours of use as they acquire moisture. They should therefore be replaced regularly. They are defined by the normal European EN14683, i.e. the BFE.
When should you use anti-virus masks? No mask, also anti-virus masks will not provide 100% security against viruses. Therefore, according to WHO recommendations, they should not be used prophylactically. Antivirus masks should be used by people who suspect or care for a viral infection. Moreover, when anti-virus masks are misused, they can themselves be a source of dangerous microorganisms. They should be used for a short time before they get wet and turn into an ideal environment for microbial growth.
Protective masks and medical masks?
There are many different types of masks on the market, designed for different purposes. Among them we also find protective masks that differ significantly from typical medical masks.
Medical masks are also called hygienic and surgical masks. Their main task is to reduce the risk of infection. On the other hand, the protective mask protects us against pollution – for example, dust, smoke or aerosols. The category of protective masks includes anti-smog masks and models used during renovation works. We can divide them into disposable, designated as NR and reusable – R.
Protective masks have filters to protect against microbiological hazards. Studies show that they filter up to 95% of particles that are in the air, including microbes.
Protective masks depending on the degree of protection that they guarantee are divided into:
- use of pneumatic tools such as saws and drills
- when using a laser or diathermy, which could lead to infectious particles entering the air
- when cleaning and disinfecting equipment or in contact with a patient suffering from mycoplasma, tuberculosis, diphtheria or pneumoniaFFP3 </ li>So, surgical masks are mainly used in the medical industry – which is why they must be confirmed by relevant standards. They allow you to maintain the greatest effectiveness for the first dozen or so minutes. They mainly protect against infecting others. They are also loose and often more comfortable. In contrast, protective masks adhere tightly to the face and protect healthy people from infection, but their filters require regular replacement. What are protective masks for? </ Strong>Protective masks are able to filter even the finest particles, so they are used when performing certain medical procedures, such as:
Protective masks and filters
The heart of protective masks are filters – they are designed to stop particles floating in the air before entering the lungs. Filters in protective masks can be divided into two basic types: with activated carbon and HEPA. When buying a mask with a filter, it is worth looking for the N99 marking, which means that the filter absorbs 99% of harmful compounds
The HEPA filter is made of sintered glass and is used to disinfect air. The 0.3-micrometer holes allow retention of up to 99% of mechanical impurities. HEPA filters are also able to block viruses, bacteria and fungi. What’s more, special technology means that the inhaled air doesn’t put much resistance, making breathing easier.
Carbon filters use carbon absorption. It is an effective way to fight pollution, which achieves an efficiency of 99%. Their action is based on the attraction of negatively charged dirt particles by positively charged ions. Carbon filters protect against toxins, tobacco smoke, dust and pollen.
Reusable anti-virus masks
In addition to disposable masks, there are also models that can be used many times. These are mainly masks that protect against dust. They are equipped with special filters and require regular washing and scalding. The effectiveness of reusable masks affects their higher price, compared to disposable masks.
How to care for reusable masks?
Reusable anti-virus masks usually have a special pocket in which the filter is located. However, you should remember to replace it regularly. These are canvas models that can be washed easily. You can also boil the mask in boiling water to disinfect. Masks defined as FFP3 and FFP2 types are recommended to be sterilized in an autoclave, i.e. a device intended for sterilizing instruments that uses high temperature.
It is worth remembering, however, that each time masks are sterilized their barrier barrier decreases. Remember to put the masks on correctly. You should always wash your hands first and do not touch it with your hands when using the mask. However, the mask should be removed avoiding touching the front of it, and then thoroughly wash your hands.