Answering your questions on the type of mask to wear to reduce the risk of those you provide care for contracting Covid-19
THE CURRENT PROBLEM
COVID 19 has led to a surge in demand for personal protective equipment throughout the UK, and in response, a multitude of UK businesses have estab- lished supply lines to try and fill this demand. Unfortunately, although millions of masks are now being brought in, many provide little or no protection against COVID 19. The confusing amount of variations of masks combined with the lack of information in the market and masks being sold with invalid certification has led to many users, including even the NHS, ending up with inadequate masks at disproportionate prices.
WHO ARE WE?
Our company is called HealthHealth (www.health- health.co.uk), due to the ongoing pandemic many busi- nesses have had to purchase PPE for the first time, we have transformed our distribution model from whole- sale to supply the end-user directly to prevent price gouging via intermediaries and ensure the user receives the correct masks for their intended use. WHAT MASKS SHOULD I BE USING?
The 2 main types of masks that provide protection against COVID 19 according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) are N95/KN95 masks and 3 Ply Surgical masks.
KN95 masks are 4/5 ply (layers) masks that come in two grades; FFP2 and FFP3. The WHO recommends these masks be used by those who are symptomatic and otherwise should be reserved for and used by those in the healthcare sector, particularly those in and around patients who are most susceptible to Covid-19. These masks should be tested to EN:149 standards by a PPE compliant non-voluntary body.
There are four types of medical-grade 3 Ply surgical masks; Type I, Type IR, Type II and Type IIR. Type I and Type II masks are not fluid-resistant and hence are not
ideal for use during the ongoing pandemic. Fluid resistance is the ability of a mask to catch the respira- tory droplets discharged when a user coughs or sneezes. The WHO recommends fluid-resistant med- ical masks be worn by over 60s and those who have underlying health problems, as well as those who are in contact with these groups. Both masks have high fluid resistance and high breathability. The difference between the two is type IR has a bacterial filtration effi- ciency (BFE) of >95% and type IIR has a BFE of >98%. Type IIR is therefore preferable to type IR, although both provide protection against COVID 19. These masks should be tested to EN:14683 standard by a PPE compliant non-voluntary body.
WHICH MASKS SHOULD I BE WARY OF?
A surgical 3 Ply mask that does not fit into the above two categories cannot be classified as medical. Although they may provide some protection, they are not tested by the relevant standards to qualify them as either type IR or Type IIR, and are hence not appropri- ate for care workers.
Valve masks provide no protection for anyone but the user of the mask, they do not prevent respiratory droplets being emitted by the user, and are hence not appropriate for care workers.
Reusable cloth masks lose their integrity with every wash, a study by the WHO shows them as significantly less effective than medical masks, and are hence not appropriate for care workers.
HOW DO I AUTHENTICATE A MASK I’M BEING SOLD?
1. Ask for a test report and a CE certificate/conformity and make sure the mask is tested to the aforemen- tioned standards (EN:14683 for surgical masks and EN:149 for KN95 masks)
2.Verify the test report and the CE certificate on the web- site of the testing body on the certificate, most testing bodies will allow you to do this online automatically.
We provide all the aforementioned masks via our website: www.healthhealth.co.uk . Our Type IR and Type IIR masks supersede the required standards and are made to fit comfortably on the face for elongated periods. Our KN95 masks are all individually sealed in sachets. Our focus is on high quality at wholesale prices. Our masks have been supplied to the UK Department of Health, the NHS, Care Homes, Dentists, to name but a few.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for any bulk enquires. GET 10% OFF when you use the code CARERDIGITAL