What you should know about face masks and face shields

With the spread of COVID-19 worldwide, a lot of news has circulated on the subject, and this has caused people to compulsively acquire face masks. Thus, the shortage of these supplies has increased, and those who really must use them find serious problems in acquiring them.

Being well informed about the use of masks and face shields is of great importance, since there are several types of these implements and not all of them fulfill the main objective, which for many is to avoid COVID-19 infection. But not only that: having the correct information in mind reduces the compulsive purchase of these inputs, which are so necessary.

Face masks, masks and face shields

The mask is made as a protection for people against inhalation of dangerous particles, which can be part of the smoke, dust, vapors, gases, microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses that are transported through the air.

Face masks, like face masks and face shields, are very useful when they are protected against the bacteria and viruses that are spread by someone who is sick when they cough or sneeze. Although it is an implement to prevent contagion, people already infected have to use it out of obligationThis will prevent fluids that are spread from infecting healthy people.

Although they are so important, chances are you don't know who their creator was. Disposable face masks were invented at the same time that what is now a surgical uniform was created. It was Willian Halsted who developed all these implements for personal protection in 1890. And currently this invention has made it possible for there to be more preventive measures against various types of viruses.

Companies produce time trial masks

Faced with the shortage of masks, and keeping the coronavirus as the main objective, there are many companies in the world that have changed or developed new production lines to manufacture these supplies.

Xinca: This is a company from Mendoza (Argentina), which makes slippers and other kinds of products with recycled rubber and textile waste. Only a short time ago the manufacture of chinstraps and footwear protectors began.

Bambula Eko: It is an online store of ecological and environmentally friendly alternatives. In the face of the coronavirus crisis, he launched into making two-layer PUL face masks with a certified breathable waterproof membrane and a layer of smooth cotton. They are reusable for up to 3 years.

Ford's face shields

The renowned company in the automotive industry produced 20 thousand facial protectors in its Pacheco Plant (Buenos Aires, Argentina), to offer the necessary equipment to all the medical personnel who are constantly working to attend to the patients who got COVID-19. All of them were donated to the Argentine Red Cross.

The protectors, which are made from acetate sheets and a head-fitting support, represent an important element for the personal protection that medical personnel require in a situation like this.

Ford is a company that has extensive design experience, an extensive supply network, manufacturing and also logistics expertise, which became key elements in the high-speed development of this product. In the production process, 45 volunteers participated, and more than 100 joined in logistics and distribution.

Different types

According to the origin of the air

Two categories are distinguished:

Masks that purify the air: the air you breathe is obtained through filtration of the external atmosphere, in cases in which it is contaminated by any particle that represents a health hazard. In this class of masks you will find a wide variety that can be economic, disposable, protectors against biological elements and even models that are reusable, which are commonly known as gas masks.

Masks that have air supply: in this case, they are masks that have an air supply through an oxygen cylinder, or also that it comes from an instrument that offers a good quality, such as a mechanical fan.

According to the level of protection

Taking into account the level of protection of the implement, currently there are mainly two kinds of masks or face masks. On the one hand there are the surgical masks or protectors and then we have the self-filtering protectors.

Surgical masks: are used by medical personnel specifically for surgical treatments and processes such as surgeries, intubations, among other things. The design of these protectors is flat or also pleated, with a tape on the sides that allows them to be adjusted on the head.

The protection offered by this kind of mask goes from the internal part to the external part, but in addition to that they are made with a totally disposable material. They also work so that the sick do not infect healthy people. There are disposable surgical masks and disposable hygienic masks.

Self-filtering covers: offer protection against dust, smoke particles and water mist. However, they do not provide protection against gases and vapors. The materials with which this implement is made are specifically designed for air filtration.

Taking into account the leakage and also the filtering action they exert, they offer respiratory protection for various concentrations of pollutants, and depending on the size of the particles there are several types of masks.

FFP1: The minimum filtration efficiency of this face shield is 78%, with a percentage of 22% of air leakage to the outside. It is a good implement if you want to protect yourself against non-toxic and non-fibrogenic residues, but they also prevent you from inhaling odors that are annoying.

FFP1 mask

FFP2: the filtration efficiency is 92%, with only a percentage of 8% with respect to air leakage to the outside. Offering protection towards non-toxic waste in the same way as in the previous case, with the difference that they do protect against fibrogenic elements, so they will protect you against smoke and aerosols.

FFP3: the efficiency percentage is 98% and with respect to air leakage to the outside, it is 2%. It is a very effective mask to protect you from poisonous powders as well as toxic, aerosol and smoke. But it is also very efficient to protect you against various types of bacteria, spores spread by fungi and also against viruses.

N95 Covers: This is a mask that meets the N95 standard expressed by the American National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). This means that has the ability to filter 95% of all particles that are dispersed in the air, but it does not have oil resistance as in the case of the P95. Only the FFP2 and FFP3 class masks are equivalent in operation to the N95 type mask.

Other types of face shields

Apart from the masks and protectors that we have mentioned, there are also others that offer another kind of respiratory protection.

Homemade masks: they are generally made of cloth. However, these mouthguards are not checked or properly authorized for use. They do not offer much protection against airborne particles or biological agents.

Gas or vapor hoods: they have the same utility as in the case of surgical chinstraps, so they will only protect you against toxic substances as in the case of aerosols. The only advantage is that they can be reused without problem.

What to use to protect yourself from COVID-19

The article with the highest demand among people to protect themselves from contagion by coronavirus is the face mask, and that is why the scarcity of these has been increasing. But the truth is that not all are effective in preventing the spread of a virus.

The most useful and efficient face masks or face shields to avoid getting coronavirus, are the class masks FFP2, FFP3 and the N95. Like these implements have greater air filtering capacity, the virus will not enter through your airways.

However, If you are sick and want to avoid infecting other people, the ideal is for you to wear surgical masks. At the time of sneezing or coughing, the expelled fluid droplets will become trapped in the mask material and will not go outside. You must remember that surgical masks are disposable.

The correct way to wear a mask

It is important to keep in mind that if the face shield is not used in the correct way, it will completely lose its function and therefore will not be efficient. But in addition to that, it is an implement that has to be used rationally. To correctly use a chinstrap you just have to do the following:

– Before putting on a face shield, you must wash your hands very well with a disinfectant that contains alcohol or also using a generous amount of water and soap.

– When your hands are totally clean, Cover your mouth and nose with the mask, making sure there is no gap between the protector and your face.

– While you are wearing the mask, avoid touching it for any reason And if at any time you do, wash your hands the way we have described above.

– If you notice that the face shield is wet, remove it immediately and change it for another one. You must not reuse the protectors, since they are disposable items.

To properly remove a face mask, you have to remove it from the back, for no reason touch the front. Once removed, you have to immediately dispose of it in a closed trash container. When you have discarded the protector, wash your hands correctly.

Spread this information out so everyone knows how to take care of yourself.