August 11, 2022

With Omicron Cases Rising, Experts Say it’s Time to Upgrade to Respirator Masks

Introduction

With the caseload of covid-19 rising each day to new levels due to the contagious Omicron variant, health experts are convinced that there can be no better time to switch to high-quality masks than now. According to physicians, cloth masks may offer insufficient protection against coronavirus. They are now encouraging people to switch to stronger respirator-grade masks like FFP2 maske rot that’s been approved by the European Union. At the very least, you should combine a cloth mask with surgical models. 

Single-layer fabric masks, which are preferred by many people because of their style and comfort, are only effective at blocking larger droplets laden with the virus. However, they don’t do a good job keeping out aerosols that might carry the virus. That is why there is a lot of interest in ffp2 maske blau at the moment. 

Breaking Down FFP2 Mask

Among the many features of FFP2 maske rot is its polypropylene filter layer, which is a form of plastic. This makes the masks effective in trapping the finest particles. Thanks to this extra layer, wearers can benefit from greater protection against coronavirus. It is what makes FFP2 masks superior to surgical masks. 

The latest CDC guidelines about masks recommend for people to wear masks any time they are out in the public. If you have to wear a cloth mask, it has to be multi-layered, fit snugly, have a wide nose bridge that can be adjusted, and be tightly woven. The guidelines also suggest layering masks. This may include wearing a disposable mask underneath a fabric mask. 

However, most professionals agree that certain mask types protect you better from the omicron variant than when you use cloth masks. 

Monica Gandhi, who is a specialist in infectious diseases at the University of San Francisco, says that you must wear the right mask type if you want zero exposure. She recommends wearing respirator grade masks like N95, FFP, or KN95. FFP2 masks are certified in Europe, and they come in different colors like ffp2 maske blau. Where you cannot get these masks, the next best thing is to double-mask, which is tightly wearing a multilayered cloth mask on top of a surgical face covering. Polypropylene is the material used to make surgical masks, and it has electrostatic charges that trap the finest particles of viruses. 

Thanks to the high transmissible nature of the Omicron variant, simply wearing surgical or cloth masks will not suffice. 

There is a general belief that, when worn properly, high-quality surgical masks could offer sufficient protection. However, more research and data is needed to ascertain how these masks can protect wearers from omicron. 

N95 masks are certified by NIOSH or the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, a US-based body. These masks have a thicker fiber network compared to surgical masks. The electrostatic charge, coupled with the tighter mesh, make these masks the most effective at trapping airborne particles that the wearer might exhale. They also stop wearers from inhaling such particles. Certified N95 masks, when worn properly, can filter 95% of airborne particles. 

It is better to wear any mask than no mask at all. However, cloth masks and surgical masks aren’t as effective as respirator masks. 

Megan Srinivas, an infectious disease expert and a clinician at the University of North Carolina, insists she and the rest of her family wear N95 masks. Like FFP2 masks, these also have five layers of materials that overlap and are tighter to minimize droplets from entering or escaping. She urges parents to buy these same masks that are available in children’s sizes when sending their kids to school. And for those parents that cannot access these masks, the next best tip is to use disposable surgical face coverings that are authorized. She says that there is a need for the public to be educated about the different qualities of face masks and the level of protection they offer. 

Fit is vital

After you have been sold out on the idea of booting the crummy mask, the counsel on what follows varies a bit. However, most experts are in agreement that fit is acutely important. 

It doesn’t help when the air escapes around the sides or the nose. The ideal situation is to breathe through it. 

Although the science around Covid-19 is continuously evolving, initial evidence indicates that the Omicron variant spreads extremely fast. It means people can easily get it once they are exposed. This, put together with the emerging understanding of the duration the SARS-CoV virus remains afloat in the air, makes it critical to upgrade to respirator-grade masks.

How an FFP2 Mask Rot protects you from Catching Covid-19

The bigger the droplet containing the virus the higher the likelihood it will fall to the ground. If the virus can survive within very small droplets, it is very easy for it to remain airborne, making it easier to slip through a gap in the mask more easily. 

When choosing a face mask, the most important things you should pay attention to are fit, filtration, and comfort.

Granted, an N95, FFP2, or KN95 mask has a better filtration efficiency compared to a cloth or surgical mask. However, they may be lacking in comfort. And while a cloth mask leads on the comfort front, it might not work to your liking. (N95 is the US designation, while KN95 denotes masks from China. FFP2 masks are the European equivalent while Australia has P2.)

In the past, we thought that cloth and surgical masks were helpful. The truth is that they are not. This leaves respirator masks like FFP2 masks to be the only optimal choice. 

Conclusion

In the face of the fast-spreading omicron variant, there is a strong case for switching to better quality face masks. Cloth and surgical masks might have served us earlier on, but the rate at which this new variant spread suggests that an upgrade is necessary. 

And while an FFP2 maske blau is not nearly as comfortable as a cloth ask, it blocks 95% of particles suspended in the air, including the virus that causes COVID-19. Additionally, these masks are today commonly available and affordable. 

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