How to correctly use a protective mask

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Protective facial gear, functional or not?

With circumstances that can at least be labeled as very weird, it’s a frightening time we live in. In the midst of the current pandemic, cities and even entire country’s are shutting down. And although not everybody lives in surroundings where people are infected, it’s impossible to avoid getting confrontated with the virus throughout the day. Shops are closed, supermarkets work with different behavior policies and TV shows and news programs are filled with the latest updates about death ratio’s and overcrowded hospitals. In the meanwhile conspiracy theories on the internet are reaching more mainstream public than ever before and despite the question if their grounded in truth or falsehood, they feed the existing anxiety within society on a very deep level. Out of the emotional impact, which hits people all around the world, one fundamental question arises and reveals our underlying uncertainty: How is our future going to look like?

How do we deal with Covid-19 worldwide?

Everywhere around the world people have different strategies in dealing with the current circumstances. Some of us are checking the news constantly, searching for reassurance about the situation. Others isolate their selves and watch TV the whole day with a head filled with worries. Again, others remain calm, protect their selves as much as possible and wait until the storm has passed. Because of the economic situation as well as the responsibility the government has to take care for our health, they also use different strategies in dealing with the virus. Tsjech Republic, Slovenia and Austria started to obligate people to use protective facial gear in public places and Luxembourg and the United States are considering this measure as well. Other countries strongly advise people to wear protective facial gear but are not forcing them (yet). Despite different expectations toward populations most governments agree on the idea that facial protection is functional in blocking the contamination of viruses.

An FFP mask (also called repiratory protection mask) is a type of protective mask certified by the Europian Union that serves to protect against particulates such as dust particulates and various viruses in the air. The EN-149 standard defines three classes of filter efficiency for these masks, namely FFP1, FFP2 and FFP3. To protect against viruses, filtering masks need to at least meet the requirements of the EU norm (NEN-EN 149:2001 + A1:2009) and require a minimum of FFP2.

Four simple rules to follow in order to use a face mask ffp2 or a surgical mask correctly:

  1. Make sure your hands are always clean and disinfected
  2. Keep the mask in one hand and the elastics in the other. Make sure you don’t touch the inside of the mask.
  3. Make sure the facialgear is well attached to your face. If the mask does not fit properly, you can breathe unfiltered polluted air through the edges. The mask should cover you nose, mouth and chin.
  4. When taking the mask of, avoid touching the inside, which might be full of bacteria/the virus.

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