WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION
GUIDANCE ON FACE MASKS
"Masks (are) part of a comprehensive package of prevention and control measures that can limit the spread of respiratory viral diseases, including Covid-19.“
“Masks can be… worn to protect oneself when in contact with an infected individual or worn by an infected individual to prevent onward transmission."
Our conclusion: Wearing masks helps to reduce the spread of viruses.
"Studies of influenza-like illness and Coronaviruses provide evidence that the use of a Medical Mask can prevent the spread of infectious droplets from a symptomatic infected person to someone else, and (can prevent) potential contamination of the environment.”
“Wearing a Medical Mask by healthy individuals in households… or among attendees of mass gatherings may be beneficial as a measure preventing transmission”.
“A recent meta-analysis… could be considered to be indirect evidence for the use of masks by healthy individuals in the wider community”.
“W.H.O has updated its guidance to advise that, to prevent Covid-19 transmission effectively in areas of community transmission, governments should encourage the general public to wear masks in specific situations.”
Our conclusion: We should all wear a mask in places where physical distancing is not possible, to protect ourselves & the people around us.
"The likely advantages of the use of masks by healthy people in the general public include:
- reduced potential exposure risk from infected persons before they develop symptoms;
- reduced potential stigmatisation of individuals wearing masks to prevent infecting others or of people caring for Covid-19 patients in non-clinical settings;
- making people feel they can play a role in contributing to stopping spread of the virus;
- reminding people to be compliant with other measures (e.g. hand hygiene, not touching nose & mouth)."
Our conclusion: Although masks pose some tiny risks for the public (self-contamination from touching face, muffled voice, causing litter if not thrown in bin), the advantages of wearing a mask by far outweigh the disadvantages.
"Filtering Face Piece Respirators (respirators) offer a balance of filtration and breathability”.
Surgical “medical masks filter 3 micrometre droplets, (but) respirators must filter more challenging 0.075 micrometre solid particles”.
“FFP2 (Respirators) filter at least 94% solid NaCl particles and oil droplets”.
“Certified FFP Respirators ensure unhindered breathing with maximum resistances during inhalation and exhalation”.
Surgical “medical mask filtration tests are performed on a cross-section of the mask, whereas respirators are tested for filtration across the entire surface.”.
The “filtration material and shape (of respirators) ensure a seal around wearer’s face, resulting in a guaranteed filtration, compared to the open shape or leaking structure of (surgical) medical masks”.
Other advantages of respirators compared to surgical masks include:
- lower CO2 build up
- less inward leakage
- higher tensile strength of straps
Our conclusion: Respirator masks (usually white) offer far superior protection from viruses than surgical medical masks (usually blue).
“A Filtering Face Piece (FFP) respirator mask:
- is certified to the PPE Directive.
- provides a high level of filtering capability & face fit.
- provides an effective barrier to both droplets and fine aerosols.”
“A Surgical mask:
- provides a physical barrier to large projected droplets.
- does not provide full respiratory protection against smaller suspended droplets & aerosols.
- is not regarded as Personal Protective Equipment under European Directive 89/686/EEC. “
The information above is quoted from a UK Health & Safety Executive guidance page titled:
“Pandemic Flu - Workplace Guidance”.
To see the entire webpage, please click on the image below: