Reasons for wearing masks:
There are many different reasons for wearing masks. Masks are being used in medical and public areas as well as for constructional and renovation work.
In situations you come close to other people for a certain time, the risk of getting infected is much higher. Geriatric nurses, doctors or people in packed buses and trams can not keep distance very well. In these specific situations mouth-nose protection masks can be very helpful.
For constructional work and for services close to constructional work a breathing mask is essential. To be able to handle hazardous substances such as dust, asbestos or solvents or to be able to work in contaminated areas a breathing mask is required. Also, you need to respect certain behaviour rules.
Protection from accidental touches:
A mask can help the human’s personal hygiene behaviour: The reason for many infections with viral or bacterial germs is that people touch their own face several times an hour. Thus, germs can reach mucous membranes of mouth, nose and eyes and lead to an infection. Mouth-nose protection or a breathing mask can prevent direct contact. However, the protection or mask needs to be replaced by a new one to prevent it to become a reservoir of germs itself.
Fabric masks provide poor protection:
Fabric masks, also known as daily routine masks, community masks, DIY masks or temporary masks provide only poor protection. The Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices warns people wearing such masks, “they can not be sure that the mask will save them or others from SARS-CoV-2”. For this kind of mask, a protective effect could not be proofed.
Mouth-nose protection (MNP) or “surgery mask”
MNP protects mouth and nose from touches of contaminated hands.
Furthermore, an MNP is effective in preventing the spreading of droplets of the wearer. The wearer mainly protects his surroundings from droplets that can be spread by talking, sneezing or coughing. The wearer does not protect himself.
Particle filtering breathing protection (Filtering Face piece – FFP)
Particle filtering half masks are being used as breathing protection from volatile particles. They count as a breathing protection device with not exchangeable filter material.
Particle filtering half masks are breathing protection devices that are being checked according to European Norm DIN EN 149. There are three different classes of the devices: FFP1, FFP2 and FFP3.
Difference between the protection masks FFP2 and KN95:
With the help of FB, FHB, DGUV and DIN – Normenausschuss Feuerwehrwesen (FNFW) the Berlin Fire Department made a norm comparison for filtering protection masks FFP2 according to EN 149 with the Chinese norm GB 2626-2006 (KN95).
The protection masks FFP2 (EN 149:2001) and KN95 (GB 2626-2006) can be compared very well regarding this case (SARS-CoV-2).
The aerosol in question (SARS-CoV-2) is not oil bounded.
The Berlin Fire Department has encouraged and permitted the distribution.
Putting on the mask
It is advisable to wash your hands with soap carefully before putting on the mask. By doing this, germs on your hands can not contaminate the inner surface of the mask. Also, after taking off the mask you should wash your hands. It is important that the mask is put correctly over your mouth, nose and cheeks, the nose piece should be adjusted and the edges of the mask should cover your face tightly to minimize the air circulation at both sides of the mask.
Cleaning of protective masks
Mouth-nose masks made of cellulose are supposed to worn only once.
Not all FFP masks can be recycled. FFP masks with a CE label, as well as FFP masks from China can be heated up to 70 degrees (Celsius). FFP masks without a CE label, which are usually produced in the United States, Canada, Australia or Japan, might take damage in the plastic filter when heated. It’s not recommended to recycle FFP masks without a CE label.
In general, FFP masks are supposed to be recycled up to a maximum of three times.
Warning: We do not recommend sterilizing any mask in microwaves. Many masks contain metallic parts and might cause fire when microwaved.
Disposal of masks
Because all masks can contain germs and viruses, they belong to the residual waste. The Federal Association of German Waste management, water and raw materials draws attention to this.