Let’s Talk About Face Masks
We all know what a face
mask is, and chances are that we’ve all seen people wearing them (especially
in today’s current climate).
Their popularity during a pandemic is due to the believed
protection that they offer, as studies show they decrease the amount of
The main purpose of a face mask is to prevent liquid from a
sneeze or cough entering another person’s mouth or nose. This would decrease
the degree of which an infected person can spread bacteria.
Wearing a face mask can help protect you from catching a
viral infection when around an ill person, or prevent you from spreading
your own illness. That’s why it’s common practice for doctors and nurses,
who are around sick patients all day, or dentists, who risk close contact with the
mouth and nose.
Another benefit of this protective gear is that it can minimise
hand-to-mouth viral transmissions by stopping people from directly touch their
mouths while wearing one.
Simply “distancing” may not always be an effective solution.
For one, healthcare professionals can’t always be at a distance from patients.
What’s more, the “two metres apart” guidance is based on data from the 1940s,
recent studies suggest that large droplets could potentially travel up to six
metres. Face masks offer an alternative solution where distancing is
In other studies, masks resulted in more than a threefold reduction in the amount of virus people
sprayed into the air and have also been shown to reduce the likelihood of
developing seasonal influenza.
Difference Between Surgical Face Masks & N95 Respirators
Now you know about face masks, but are they the same as N95
respirators? The short answer is no, they’re not the same – let’s
look into why…
Respirators are similar to face masks, being protective
devices worn around the face to block viruses. However, they are more tightly
fitted and designed to stop smaller airborne particles from entering the
body. The N95 is named because of this effectiveness, as it blocks at least
95% of tiny particles.
These respirator masks can be more difficult to put on
for those who aren’t medical professionals. When fitted correctly, they can
get hot and stuffy, resulting in people removing them before they do any good.
is the Best Choice?
Respirators are mainly recommended for professionals
working with potential exposure to airborne diseases and must be worn
properly to serve any benefits.
Theoretically, these N95s can offer greater protection
against airborne viruses than surgical masks – this is because face masks are
designed to block larger particles rather than aerosols. However, studies have
found benefits to both types of masks.
The bottom line is, in most cases, a surgical face mask will
usually suffice (and can be easier to source) as long as other preventative
measures are properly followed. The emphasis here is on basic hygiene – clean
hands and clean
One more thing – if you’re looking into purchasing a
respirator, make sure you know what you’re buying. If a product is
titled “respirator” with no mention of N95, then it’s unlikely that
you’ll be getting the full level of protection.
Face Mask Properly, or it Won’t Work
Face masks can only help to prevent the spread of viruses
when worn correctly and frequently.
Be aware of the guidelines for proper mask-wearing so that
your efforts don’t go to waste:
- Use your mask when coming within 6 feet of an
- Keep the mask firmly in place over the nose,
mouth and chin by positioning the strings correctly
- Once applied, avoid touching the mask again
until you remove it
- Use your face mask before going near other
people if you are infected (e.g. if you need to see a doctor, wear the mask to
protect others in the waiting area)
- Consider wearing a mask in crowded areas if a
virus is widespread in the community
- Consider wearing a mask if you’re at high risk
for virus complications
- When you’re done wearing the mask, throw it away
and wash your hands
- Never reuse a mask
Do You Really
Need a Face Mask?
There’s a lot of different advice out there, but ultimately a
face mask can’t hurt. As long as people still adhere to proper
sanitation, there are no known risks to wearing a face mask.
They can be particularly tempting for public transport and
crowded areas to help protect from the high risk of various peoples’ coughs
That being said, it’s not necessary for everyone to
wear a face mask. They should really only be worn if:
- You have symptoms (a mask should be worn to
- You’re a healthcare provider caring for sick
patients (a mask should be worn to protect you)
- You’re likely to be around people with symptoms
- You’ve been advised to wear a mask by a medical
Face Mask from a Trustworthy Supplier
Remember, surgical masks and their filtration material are
not regulated in the UK. That means anyone can sell something labelled as a
surgical mask, even if it’s totally ineffective.
Buying from a reliable
source is crucial, and so is checking a products credentials. Always look
for the CE certification mark. If a mask is CE certified, then it
conforms with EU health, safety and environmental protection standards.
As effective as they are, wearing a face mask does not
guarantee safety from infection; basic hygiene measures are still necessary.
Washing hands and cleaning surfaces regularly and effectively
is crucial to prevent the spread of bacteria.
To get the right supplies, trust in Direct365 – all kinds of businesses across the UK trust in our reliable and cost-friendly products.
For high quality surgical face masks, click here.
For N95 respirators, click here.
For a range basic hygiene supplies, click here.
COVID-19 UPDATE: At Direct365, it’s business as usual! Our dedicated team are working hard from home so you can #StaySafe & get all the essential products & services we supply. Back