The COVID-19 crisis is causing many industries to question which are the most suitablesurgical face masks to protect their employees from being infected by the SARS COVID 19 virus or coronavirus.
In the case of the food industries, regardless of the current emergency, the use of the N95 face mask is already common to guarantee food safety, which is an important advantage over other activities.
However, the current situation requires us to rethink its use and/or to use new types of facemask to face a new risk.
This article analyzes the mechanisms of possible contagion, as well as the different types of masks available to minimize risk in the environment of the food industry.
The new risk of infection by the SARS-COVID19 virus:
Viruses are much smaller microorganisms than bacteria. The size of coronaviruses has been estimated to be between 60 and 140 nm in diameter. That is, they are in an order of magnitude at least 10 times less than that of the smallest bacteria measuring between 0.5 and 1 µm in diameter.
However, viruses that cause respiratory illness are transmitted primarily through droplets or aerosols produced by infectious people when coughing or sneezing.
These drops measure between 0.5µm and 10 µm. The contagion occurs when these drops in which the virus is found reach the respiratory system or the eyes of another person.
Transmission by air over distances greater than one or two meters is unlikely. The contagion can also happen through intermediate support or vector surfaces on which gout rests.
Within the survival period of SARS COVID19 on the surface, contagion occurs by contact with the surface first and then with eyes, mouth, or nose. Avoiding contamination routes reduces the risk of contagion of personnel.
Masks to reduce the risk of contagion: types and characteristics:
1. Hygienic masks:
This group could include those that have been used in the food industry to minimize the risk of contamination of the product and/or work surfaces by handlers or operators.
This Face Mask covers the mouth, nose, and chin and is one more element together with the use of head protectors, beards, gowns, and suitable clothing intended to guarantee food safety.
2. Surgical masks:
Surgical masks aredesigned for use in the healthcare environment. They are a medical device. They are designed to prevent the transmission of infectious agents by the person who carries them and that could be present in the mouth, nose, or throat.