Surgical masks control the particles emitted during exhalation but, to a lesser extent, those received during inhalation of different sizes and speeds.
In the healthcare industry, they are designed to protect the patient who is undergoing surgery from the surgeon, and very especially in the current context of the Corona Virus.
For infected patients and other people with symptoms or asymptomatic in order to reduce the risk that they may transmit the coronavirus and other all types of viruses. They are always disposable.
The surgical mask does not provide a level of personal protection like filter masks, but they are very useful in limiting the spread of contagion.
They are made, like filter masks, with polypropylene fibers, but in a lower weight and with a different design. The correct way to place them is the colored part, green or blue, that repels the fluids, towards the outside, and the absorbent white with the filter towards the inside.
In the center, there is usually a layer of cellulose that acts as a barrier. In total, they usually have three layers. As much as we put one mask on another, they will never become a filtering mask. Neither does it work to improve performance, putting one on the right and the other on the reverse.
The use of a filter mask is frequent in the health field but also in ceramics, pharmaceuticals, and industry in general. They offer high personal protection against contagion due to their ability to prevent the entry of particles from the outside.
Filter or respiratory masks are also known as FFP protective masks. The acronym FFP refers to “Filtering Face Piece”, or what is the same, masks that filter.
Unlike the previous ones, they are designed to work from “outside to inside”. It is not about protecting the immediate environment, but rather protecting the user against inhalation of environmental contaminants such as biological risks, antibiotics, etc.
The most widely used at the moment are the FFP2 masks, similar in features N95 (American standard) or KN95 (Chinese standard). They may or may not have an exhalation valve to facilitate breathing, but this model should be avoided if the person is infected or has symptoms as the valve is an escape route for particles to the outside.
These masks are generally made of three layers based on polypropylene fibers. They can be reusable (marked on the mask with an “R”) for longer shifts under the manufacturer’s instructions, or non-reusable (“NR”).
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