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Can Face Masks Effectively Limit the Probability of Sars-Cov-2 Transmission?

During the pandemic and beyond, it looks like face masks have become indispensable to protect oneself against COVID-19. Wearing of face masks, along with observing physical distancing, is a familiar sight all over the world. Does this mean that the pandemic isn’t over yet?

Continued face mask wearing is a sign how effective these implements are in reducing the risk of getting the SARS-CoV-2 infection. That’s why the health industry has been encouraged to use different types of face masks according to the situation.

For the best protection, find out which face mask is right for you.

What Type of Face Mask Should You Wear During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

The movement of people in public places cannot be controlled. So, we need to focus on what we can control, and that is protecting ourselves from the lingering virus by wearing face masks.

The following are the different types of face masks available and the level of protection they give.

1. The P2 Respirator Mask

Disposable P2 respirator masks are masks that are able to filter airborne particles, given that they are worn properly. P2 masks are not for COVID-related protection. They are more applicable in occupational settings for safety against bushfire smoke. 

In the medical setting, only healthcare workers who frequently attend to patients with infectious disease are required to wear this mask. People with certain conditions, especially in breathing, should consult first with their doctors for advice before using the P2 respirator mask. According to NSW Health, the P2 respirator mask is not recommended for general use [1].

2. N95 Mask

Sometimes, the N95 mask is known as the P2 mask, as they both function in filtering very fine particles from the air. The difference is that N95 satisfies the USA testing requirements, whilst P2 masks represent the European testing requirements.

In contrast with P2 respirator masks, N95 masks are not resistant to oil and filter up to 95% of airborne particles. 

3. Cloth Masks

Cloth face masks are cloth as they are. They are not recommended for COVID-19 protection, but it doesn’t mean you can’t wear them. 

If you opt to use cloth masks just because they are comfortable to skin, health experts recommend using a three-layer clothing. This way, they can effectively bar airborne particles, and you’ll be safe from virus transmission. Cloth face masks only compensated for the surgical mask shortage in time of pandemic hype.

4. Surgical Face Mask

Also called procedure masks, surgical masks are disposable protective masks used in hospital settings. Compared to N95 and P2, surgical masks have a different function as they are intended as a fluid barrier. It protects the one who wears it, especially medical personnel, surgeons or doctors who frequently attend to care for their patients with varying illnesses. N95 and P2 respirators, on the other hand, are designed to provide respiratory protection.

What Type of Mask Should You Not Wear During the Pandemic?

Health experts do not recommend the use of face masks with exhalation valves. Whilst the purpose of face masks is to prevent the virus from getting into your nose, eyes and mouth, the valves would defeat such purpose. Though the wearer is protected against airborne virus particles, those who are around are not if the wearer is infected with COVID-19. Face masks with exhalation valves let the virus escape through those valves.

Overall Benefits of Using Face Masks

  • Protects the public in two ways—virus carriers prevent transmission and receivers are shielded from the virus.
  • Prevents aerosols and droplets that are virus potent.
  • Source control—similar to two-way protection. The infected person wearing a face mask has little chance to infect others.
  • Virus reproduction is reduced significantly if the majority of the population wears masks in highly infected areas.
  • Wearing of face masks, along with handwashing and social distancing, is a low-cost and doable measure against COVID-19.

Dexcon | Leading Medical PPE Supplier in Australia

Even if wearing of face masks is easing in many countries, face masks are still an effective shield against COVID-19 whilst the pandemic isn’t globally over. The risk of exposure to viruses and certain diseases is still high in closed spaces, in workplaces and in public transport, and wearing masks is still the best defense we have.

For business or personal use, you can check out our supply of face masks and other PPE and medical products at Dexcon. Being a global leader in medical devices and supplies, you can count on the quality of our products. Contact us for more information.


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