The Importance of Wearing FFP2 and N95 Masks for the New Strain of Coronavirus in the UK
As a new strain of coronavirus starts to spread in the United Kingdom, it has prompted dozens of travel bans and widespread concern about what this means for the world. This scary new strain called B.1.1.7 has a series of mutations that makes it more transmissible easily than other circulating strains of SARS-CoV-2. Moreover, the new strain is potentially 70% more contagious than earlier ones and could prolong the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the World Health Organization, people under 60 years of age will be most affected by this strain. Those who are infected don't show any signs or symptoms, and can wander freely without showing any suspicious symptoms.
Protect you and your community
The role of wearing masks is undeniably vital and massive. Wearing one is the most crucial thing we can do to slow down the spread of the virus, as it reduces the spray of respiratory droplets when worn over the nose and mouth. It is the most superficial barrier to help prevent anyone's respiratory droplets from reaching others.
Among the different variants of masks available in the market, there are officially two types of protective masks that can protect against such viruses: surgical masks and respirators.
- Surgical masks do not protect the wearer completely against "airborne" infectious agents. However, according to experts, if everyone wears a surgical mask and learns to follow hygiene and simple precautionary measures, it could reduce the chance of viral transmission.
- On the other hand, respirators are personal protective equipment that protects those who wear them from inhaling "droplets" of infectious agents. It also prevents the wearer from inhaling aerosols, vapors, or gases that can cause damage to health.
- FFP2 and N95 masks are examples of respirators used to protect the wearer from airborne particles and liquid contaminating the face. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends and regulates the usage of these masks to the general public and health care workers.
- FFP2 masks have a minimum of 94% filtration percentage and a maximum of 8% leakage to the inside. These masks are mainly used for constructional and agricultural purposes. Healthcare professionals also use it against influenza viruses.
- Filtering Face Pieces are meant to fit tightly in the user's face. Meanwhile, N95 masks filter at least 95% of airborne particles. It covers the nose and mouth and helps protect the wearer from breathing in some hazardous substances.
- Respirators of class FFP2 (EU standards) and class N95 (US standards) offer maximum filtration of particles and aerosols’. Anyone who wants to have excellent protection because of their job or because they are in contact with people and work in an environment at risk should wear a respirator.
Fighting and preventing the new strain can be just like what everyone is doing since March, as it spreads just like the standard form of Coronavirus. With this, these masks are evidently crucial in our everyday lives.