In decreasing order of utility the masks rate as follows:
FFP3 > FFP2 -> FFP1 -> four-layer surgical -> three-layer surgical mask made of spun bond.
All things being equal, the best option for protecting against a viral infection is a respirator with a protection class of at least FFP3 (P3) with an exhalation valve and a shutter for a snug fit to the face. Some examples: UVEX 2310-2312, 3310, 5310,
5310+, 5320+, 7313, 7333, 7310-7312-7315-7320-7330; 3M 8833, 8835+. If it is not possible to find a respirator with an obturator, look at least at one with a non-return valve (but also FFP3), such as 3M 9332 + K113P/8132/9153R/9153RS
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Important information you need to understand to be able to choose and use respiratory protection properly:
- Disposable respirators of the type described in this review are truly disposable, but there is the possibility of sterilizing them and prolonging their service life.
- Respirators of the first degree of protection, FFP1, protect against rough building dust. The second degree of protection, FFP2, protects against fine dust of moderate toxicity and liquid aerosols. The third degree of protection, FFP3, protects against
toxic and radioactive dust, spores, bacteria, and viruses (most likely from the dust and moisture droplets in which they are contained).
- Respirators with a valve are better than those without.
- If you need serious protection against something more harmful than simple dust up to 50 MPC or, especially, toxic dust and gases up to 1 MPC — look for a half mask with a more serious replaceable filter or even a full-face mask with a panoramic view.
- Respirators FFP1 and higher are recommended by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S. (2020, Strategies for Optimizing the Supply of N95 Respirators). Medical masks are not recommended by the same institution (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2020). 2019-nCoV: What the public should do).
- Medical masks, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2020). Understanding the Difference), are not the same as respirators.
- To protect against the virus, it is also desirable to protect the eyes, although the eyes are less exposed to air than the lungs.
- Gloves should not be neglected.
Do not forget about the proper measures for the disinfection and disposal of used protective equipment.
Disclaimer: The information provided here is not an officially approved protocol or state development. It is based on the collection and analysis of data posted in the public domain on the Internet for educational reading.