The FFP2 masks have been used in continental European countries as a part of personal protective equipment.
The spread of the global coronavirus pandemic has led to the development of protection protocols. From day one, face masks continue to be the main protective device used by the majority of the population. But, the protection provided by the commonly used cloth mask is questionable. So, respiratory masks have been recommended by medical professionals that protect both the wearer and the environment equally.
The vital thing you should remember is the efficacy of the lateral flow test at detecting COVID-19. If you are more interested in an overview of COVID-19, then read our comprehensive guide written by Dr. Williams, which includes symptoms, causes and testing for COVID-19.
Face masks, the response to the pandemic
Different types of surgical masks are available in the market. Recently, a new and more sophisticated generation of masks has gained popularity and the approval of the medical community. These include N95 (USA), KN95 (China) and FFP2 (Europe). The FFP2 mask is less seen in Britain and USA but is a routinely used respirator mask in Continental Europe. What is an FFP2 mask? How effective it is to protect you from COVID-19? Let's understand.
FFP means "filtering facepiece". This unit used in a majority of the European nations for mask effectiveness is FFP and it ranges from 1 to 3, the FFP3 being the most high grade and FFP1 being the lowest grade. The FFP2 masks are thus medium-grade respiratory masks.
These masks are made of multiple layers of synthetic non-woven materials. A polypropylene filter is also added that creates a fibre pattern that can trap even the smallest particles in the air including the viruses (including the coronavirus). This face mask has a moulded nose bridge and an adjustable nose wire that makes it easier to fit.
How effective it is?
This mask is assigned a protection factor of 10, which is equal to N95 masks used in the USA. The effectiveness however varies depending upon the fabric and design. Multi-layered and tight-fitting masks made from dense materials are more effective than single-layered masks made out of Linen.
The FFP2 masks have good effectiveness. It is recommended in the industries where the workers are regularly exposed to chemicals e.g., pharmaceutical industry, chemical industry, glass industry, agriculture etc... Besides the coronavirus, it can also protect against other viruses e.g., influenza virus. The World Health Organisation recommends it for healthcare workers who are regularly exposed to viruses.
Its effectiveness depends upon the grade used. The FFP1 is assigned a protection factor of 4 and is capable to filter 80% airborne particles. The FFP2's effectiveness to filter air is 94%. The FFP3 being the most effective (protection factor 20) can filter 99% of airborne particles.
Face masks continue to be the most effective protection device against respiratory viruses. The cloth masks (most commonly used face coverings) are not so effective. That's why respirator medical masks are recommended for face covering throughout the years. Among these masks, the FFP2 mask has a good level of protection against respiratory viruses and of airborne particles. You can trust it while working in a hazardous environment.
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