April 28, 2022
Wearing face masks has become a new norm. The government has required the general public to wear masks as protection against the massive spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that’s causing the dreaded coronavirus disease. Out of the available face masks on the market, many Australians prefer to use a disposable face mask because it is readily available, convenient to use and can be easily disposed of. This is also proven effective in protecting the wearer from respiratory droplets responsible for spreading the virus. Unfortunately, the sudden increase in demand for disposable face masks has encouraged a lot of sellers to flood the market with these products. And with the abundance of available options, buying a disposable mask has become complicated. So, to help you get the best masks that will suit your needs, here’s a buying guide you can use.
What Is a Disposable Face Mask?A disposable face mask is designed for single use and should be appropriately disposed of after use. It comes with a pair of loops attached to each side and a wire that goes over the bridge of the nose. This wire is responsible for providing a tighter fit and preventing gaps. A disposable face mask is intended to cover the wearer’s mouth and nose and prevent the release of harmful respiratory droplets when an individual talks, breathes, sneezes or coughs. It is generally made from breathable materials.
What Are the Types of Disposable Face Masks?Disposable face masks are currently offered in various types. However, the most commonly used of these are the following.
1. Fabric MasksFabric masks are commonly referred to as cloth masks. These are regarded as non-medical masks that the wearer can wash and reuse. They come with a snuggly fit and are designed to cover the nose, mouth and chin areas. Fabric masks are also designed to prevent the wearer from inhaling the respiratory droplets from other individuals. In fact, research found out that this type of mask is effective in preventing the spread of the various COVID-19 variants. However, in Australia, the effectiveness and quality of fabric masks are unregulated. As such, the health authorities strongly recommend the use of cloth masks with three different layers of fabric. Also, the wearer should ensure that the mask covers the mouth and nose and that there are no gaps between the mask and the face.
2. Type I, II and IIR MasksA lot of medical practitioners prefer to use disposable surgical masks because they are breathable, lightweight and convenient to wear. These disposable masks used in medical environments have different bacterial filtration efficiency (BFE) and are classified according to the degrees of filtration they provide.
- Type I – Comes with a BFE of 95% and can filter larger respiratory droplets that cause various diseases like coronavirus. This is ideal for use by patients and the public to help reduce the spread of infection. Also, this is the recommended mask to use in public places where social distancing is possible.
- Type II – Has a BFE of 98%. This can also be used in areas where Type I is used, but it offers a higher degree of protection. This type of mask is designed for use in medical, care and hospital settings.
- Type IIR – Has a BFE of 98%. This type of mask is proven to provide the highest level of protection against infections transmitted via airborne droplets.
3. Filtering Facepiece (FFP) MasksThe FFP masks protect the wearer from inhaling fine aerosol particles and larger droplets. Many users prefer FFP masks because they are lightweight and easy to use. Additionally, the mask’s fabric does not touch the wearer’s face, making them more comfortable for use even during extended hours. The FFP masks are designed to fully cover the wearer’s nose and mouth by creating a seal against the face when worn correctly. These face masks are also disposable, just like the Type I, II and IIR variants. Presently, the following are the FFP face masks available in the market.
- FFP1 Respirator Masks - Offer a filtering efficiency of 80%
- FFP2 Respirator Masks - Offer a filtering efficiency of 94% and almost the same level of protection as the N95 masks
- FFP3 Respirator Masks - Offer a filtering efficiency of 99% and are recommended for use in high-risk areas like hospitals, testing centres, medical centres and care homes
Things to Consider When Choosing a Disposable Face MaskWith the importance of using disposable face masks these days, the public is strongly advised to choose their mask correctly. Here are some points to consider when selecting which mask to buy.
Where to Shop for Disposable Face MasksAside from selecting the best disposable face mask, knowing where to shop for it is equally important. Due to the crucial role that these masks play, the general public is cautioned to source products only from reliable sources, such as the following.
- Certified local medical or PPE shops
- Certified PPE Suppliers
- Licensed and registered drugstores
- Certified online sellers