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Which Face Masks to Use During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Face masks are intended to protect the wearer in any setting where there is a potential for exposure to respiratory viruses or harmful chemicals. Hospitals and factories are two examples of places where face masks are commonly worn.

However, with the outbreak of COVID-19, face masks have become a necessity for everyone to protect themselves and others from the virus. Masks and facial coverings offer protection against the COVID-19 virus by preventing its transmission. Face coverings can trap expelled droplets, which are responsible for the vast majority of viral transmission.

How Face Masks Become a Necessity

Although we see that many countries have loosened their restrictions against mask-wearing, health experts still recommend equipping yourself with maximum protection, especially in places where COVID-19 cases are prevalent.

Given the risks of COVID-19, it is essential to use a mask of the highest quality and fit that you can find, particularly in situations when the danger level is higher. Masks of the greatest quality are designed and tested to guarantee that they are up to a certain standard. This indicates that they maintain a constant performance in their efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19. Knowing the different types and their corresponding level of functionality, we would rather opt to wear one for our situation.

Function of Different Types of Face Mask

For the past two years, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has advised the usage of face coverings. Each design of mask has its level of effectiveness and optimal application. You should select the type of mask that is optimal for you and the circumstances.

Particulate Filter Respirators

A respirator is a face-worn personal protective device designed to limit the danger of inhaling hazardous airborne particles (such as dust and infectious agents), gases or vapours. 

Particulate respirators are also referred to as ‘air-purifying respirators since they filter particles out of the air as the user breathes. These respirators only offer protection from particles, not gases or vapours. As particles, airborne biological agents like bacteria and viruses can be filtered by particulate respirators.

One example of particulate filter respirators is the P2 masks. Face masks rated P2 mask/N95 can filter smoke's tiny particles. For them to be effective, they must be fitted correctly and form a tight seal around the face. However, maintaining a tight seal is challenging for people with facial hair and toddlers.

Medical-grade Masks

These medical masks should only be worn by healthcare professionals and patients who require them. Surgical masks are medical-grade masks required to meet applicable national standards (or equivalent). They are categorised as level 1, level 2 and level 3 surgical masks in Australia and other parts of the world depending on the level of protection or fluid resistance they offer the wearer. 

Surgical masks aid in preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus and offer enhanced protection against infection to the wearer. A surgical mask is a disposable, loose-fitting device that forms a physical barrier between the mouth and nose of the wearer and any environmental pollutants.

Non-medical Grade Face Masks

Masks that are non-medical grade are not controlled by TGA. Examples of these types of masks are fabric made from reusable woven shopping bags. There is insufficient evidence for protection. It may be used publicly for community transmission when physical separation cannot be achieved, but not for private usage.

Non-manufactured Non-medical Grade Face Coverings

Examples include a handkerchief, a scarf and a bandana; nevertheless, there is no proof that these items provide protection. Uncertainty surrounds both the wearer's protection and the origin of the problem. 

It is only permissible for public use in situations when a manufactured face covering of a non-medical grade is unavailable and there is community transmission. It is not permissible for usage in situations where there is no community transmission.

Maximising Face Mask Benefits

  • Always remember to wash your hands before putting on your mask, as well as before and after you take it off, and any time you contact it in any way. This includes before you put it on and after you take it off.
  • Purchase masks that are approved by the Australian Goods Administration to maximise protection.
  • Check that it extends down to cover your chin as well as your nose and mouth.
  • Keep your hands off the mask's front, and pull it off whilst hanging onto the ear loops or the ties behind it.
  • Wash your hands after removing the mask.

Is Wearing a Face Mask Still Required After Vaccination?

The short answer is yes. Masks still play a vital role in slowing the spread of the virus even after vaccination. Here are some facts you need to know.

  • No vaccination has a 100% success rate—In the actual world, the effectiveness of vaccines is typically a little bit lower. When attempting to explain a phenomenon, scientists typically employ specialised terminology. 

        In clinical studies, the level of protection provided by vaccinations is referred to as ‘efficacy’, whereas          the level of immunity that develops in vaccinated populations is referred to as ‘effectiveness’.

  • Vaccines do not offer immediate immunity—Different vaccine brands offer different levels of protection and also vary depending on the unique situation of the vaccine recipient. One vaccine brand and frequency or effect do not tell the same for the other brands. So, it is wise to be inquisitive about the vaccines administered in your place.
  • COVID vaccinations might not prevent infection—Vaccines have the potential to offer two different levels of protection. People who have received the measles vaccine are not contagious and do not show symptoms since the vaccine stops viruses from producing sickness in the first place.

Masks protect against all coronavirus strains, regardless of genetic alterations—New coronavirus genetic variations appear to be 50% more infectious than the original. Avoiding crowds, physical distance and masks lower the chance of catching coronavirus and other respiratory infections.

Dexcon | Leading Medical Device and PPE Supplier in Australia

It is possible to help restrict the transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19 by using face masks in conjunction with other preventative measures, such as getting vaccinated, washing one's hands often and maintaining a physical distance. 

When looking for face masks as your first line of defence from the virus, trust Dexcon. We are a leading medical device supplier that has been managing for years to deliver the best medical equipment and devices for the medical, industrial and retails sectors.

For more information about our products, call us now.

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