What is the efficacy of standard face masks compared to respirator masks in preventing COVID-19?
Covid 19 spreads via direct contact, by transfer of droplets in the air caused by a person with infection who sneezed.
About the efficacy of standard face masks
The standard face mask compared to our surgical masks is a fluid-resistant material designed to prevent splashes of liquid and droplets from coming in contact with the wearer's mouth and nose. These single-use masks are used by people whenever they go out of their house.
This mask prevents all infections. They can be either standard surgical or normal respiratory protective masks for protecting nose and mouth.
The respirator mask n95 is designed to protect the wearer from small airborne and different kinds of particles in aerosol-generating procedures. They fit firmly and work well for eye protection. There are three types of respirator masks or surgical masks: FFP1, FFP2, and FFP3. FFP3 offers the highest level of protection among all types of masks compared to respirators.
According to the UK guidance published in February 2020 where a survey of 9171 participants was conducted. They claimed that both surgical mask and n95 respirators masks provide 80% protection from SARS, a fairly similar virus compared to COVID-19. This guidance was based on a 2017 review before the SARS emerged. Most authorities in the UK use this guide for recommendations on levels of respiratory protection from COVID-19.
In March 2020, Public Health England published a set of guidelines for using certain types of masks and the procedures before a PPE fitting. These guidelines are mainly directed to hospital workers. The paper mainly suggests that:
- The hospital should gauge the level of risk of inspection for health care workers within their premises before deciding on the proper PPE respirator masks to wear.
- Before wearing face masks and respirators or any type of PPE, the wearer should remove their jewelry. Tie their hair back, drink water, and urinate if they need to.
According to Public Health England, these health care settings are to use surgical face masks, n95, and an FFP3 respirator and preventing influenza by using n95.
When to use surgical face masks for preventing covid type respiratory disease influenza-like infectious agents :
- In cohort areas with no COVID-19 infected individuals
- Close contact with covid type respiratory illnesses COVID-19 or viral infections infected individuals (within one meter)
The wearer should also wear PPE or filtering facepiece but respirator masks are recommended. Mask must be fluid resistant for all 9171 participants.
When to use FFP3 respirators and surgical masks for General infection control measures.
- Hospital procedures where you need to carry aerosol-generating procedures on a patient with confirmed or unconfirmed COVID-19 infection with a head trial on.
- High-risk areas like the ICU.
The wearer should also wear PPE, long-sleeved disposable gowns, gloves, and disposable eye protection.
What is the verdict?
According to the department of primary care, and Nuffield department of primary sciences university of Oxford the efficacy of standard face masks says that the Standard face masks or surgical masks compared to respirator masks are as effective as respirator masks like n95 respirator, FFP2, FFP3, and so on, preventing airborne viruses such as influenza and infections both type. However, it's still inconclusive whether face masks or respirators masks standard surgical masks are superior to the other
when it comes to "absolutely" preventing COVID-19 it's not actually respirators versus surgical masks .and respiratory illnesses in primary from entering the respiratory system in humans.
It is clear, though according to primary care health sciences on evidence-based medicine Nuffield that both masks are needed to minimize the risk of contracting Covid 19. More research comparing on how to further increase the protection level of certain protectants like PPE measures respirator mask, medical mask, face mask and sars Cov 2 is ongoing which is published.
Aside from reviews on wider PPE on Trish Greenhalgh one should also combine these protectants' facepieces and mask in covid 19 in illnesses. Also practice relevant health care settings including protection during aerosol-generating machines, immune-strengthening habits. It is suggested to follow healthy eating, standard face-covering exercising, washing hands regularly, social distancing, and fit testing.