Will a face mask give you any protection against Coronavirus?
The simple answer is evidenced by suppliers running low on stocks of FFP3 masks globally. We have been working closely with NHS trusts providing face fit testing to frontline staff who will be the ones coming face to face with patients suspected of carrying Coronavirus.
However, a mask will only offer the intended level of protection if the user has been face fit tested for the mask they are wearing. The filtering requirements would be FFP3, or P3 for a reusable mask.
Studies show that using a bought mask without a test to prove air-tightness means over 50% of people fail a face fit test, owing to an inadequate seal between the mask and the wearer’s face.
What about the masks I see on TV and in the media, are they any good?
Surgical masks commonly worn by people offer little protection from disease carrying aerosols created by coughs, sneezes and even simple breathing.
They simply do not create an airtight seal against the face and are made of material incapable of filtering such small droplets required to offer protection. However, they are a barrier, and as such for those not at risk from aerosols a degree of protection is afforded to both the wearer and those around them.
What type of mask do I need for protection against Coronavirus?
You need disposable FFP3 rated mask or a reusable mask with P3 filters THAT YOU HAVE BEEN FACE FIT TESTED FOR. Without a face fit test the mask is unlikely to provide the intended level of protection.
Once tested, you will now be afforded a considerable level of protection from water based aerosols (airborne Coronavirus) from the mask you are using.
With supplies of FFP3 disposable masks running low, it may be prudent to look into a reusable P3 rated mask and implement sensible decontamination procedures following use.