Blog Post, Industry News - Rigidone
Blog post and industry news from Rigidone.
By Rigidone | 07 April 2020 | 0 Comments

N95 Masks for the Coronavirus: How Do They Work and How Can They Protect Us

The number of cases of people infected with coronavirus, officially named COVID-19, continues to increase. The spread of the virus has reached northern Italy and the first cases have been recorded in the Spanish peninsula.

Lack of protective material
The social alarm generated by the coronavirus has caused mask sales to skyrocket and the WHO has alerted to the "chronic shortage of personal protective equipment" against this disease, as indicated by the organization's general director last February 7 at a press conference. In Spain, the sale of masks in pharmacies increased to 330% in the month of January and buying one now costs around 17 euros.

Disinfecting gel for hands
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In this sense, the WHO has also highlighted the inappropriate use of protective masks, since they are a priority use of health personnel who treat patients and possible cases of investigation. "The world reserves of facemasks and respirators are insufficient for the demand of the WHO and its partners," he concluded.

What are the most recommended masks?
The protection of each mask will depend on the level of filtration and its effectiveness. Therefore, before acquiring one, it is necessary to know the different types available for respiratory protection. According to European regulations, specifically EN 149, which regulates the use of medical devices, Niosh rated N95 mask can be classified into three types:

FFP1: offers a filtration efficiency of approximately 78%.
FFP2 (N95): offers a maximum efficiency of around 92%. They are the most demanded by the Chinese community.
FFP3: offers a filtration efficiency of 98%.
In the case of coronavirus, the most recommended model by the WHO is the N95 mask, equivalent to FFP2 in Europe. In fact, the Ministry of Health of the Government of Spain recommends the use of this type of mask for health professionals who attend to possible cases of coronavirus or confirmed patients.

How do masks work? Can they protect us?
An Asian woman walks with a protective mask, while pharmacies register a high demand for these by citi-zens after the coronavirus, in Madrid (Spain), on January 30.
What to do if I have a cough, fever or shortness of breath and I suspect it is coronavirus?
In addition to choosing the type of masks according to the filtration efficiency, we also have to take into account other aspects such as the designation of the particle filter or whether they are reusable or not.

The health authorities recommend the use of masks for health personnel who directly care for patients or those infected by the infection, as well as for people with symptoms similar to the coronavirus, such as cough, sneezing or fever. However, according to the WHO, masks are only effective if they are combined with other hygiene measures such as proper hand washing with soap and water.

How to use them correctly?
First, before putting on the mask, you need to wash your hands with an alcohol-based disinfectant gel, or with soap and water.

Open the mask and adjust the shape.
Put the mask under the chin.
Cover the mouth and nose with the mask and check that there are no free spaces.
Once in place, check that the adjustment is correct to avoid air leaks.
When the mask is wet it is advisable to change it and not reuse those for single use.
To remove it, it is recommended not to touch the front to avoid contaminating it.
Always wash your hands after removing the mask.
N95 masks must not be reused.

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