During the current Covid pandemic, Surgical face masks, also known as Medical face masks are the talk of the town.
What is a Surgical Face Mask Type II or Type 2?
Surgical face masks are designed to protect the wearer from infectious bacteria and viruses, dust particles, pollutants, pathogenic vapours and splashes and their surroundings from their own contaminated breathed in air. (1)
According to the European Union, a surgical face mask is a loose fitted disposable device and is of 3 types; Type I, Type II, and Type IIR.
Filtration of Medical Face Mask
This division is done on the basis of BFE (Bacterial Filtration Efficiency).
The BFE of :
- Type I is 95%
- Type II has the BFE of 98%
- Type IIR has greater than 98%. (2)
What PLY or Layers mean?
Having a BFE of 98%, Type II surgical face mask comprises 3 to 5 layers.
The layering in surgical face masks varies and it does depend on the company manufacturing it.
It ranges between 3 ply (3 layers) to 5 ply.
A 3 ply mask provides as good protection as 5 ply if made of authentic material.
Therefore, the layering does not determine the degree of protection but the quality of the layers and fabric used does.
The 3 ply Type II surgical face mask consists of an outer non woven fabric layer which serves the function of fluid repellent.
The middle layer is a high density meltblown material and functions as a microfilter and as a barrier to germs and dust particles.
The inner layer is a non irritating and skin friendly composite fabric which absorbs moisture.
Nose Clip or Bridge
Type II Surgical face masks come with a nose bridge and ear loops that holds the mask in place.
The nose bridge ensures tight nasal fitting to avoid air leakage and ear loops provide structural support to the mask as well as eliminate the outer air pressure.
Who Can Wear a Surgical Face Mask Type 2?
Type II surgical face masks are intended to be worn by both paramedics and the general public, since these masks have not only claimed reductions in the transmission of deadly Covid 19 infection but also have made this deadly pandemic level out.
Where to Wear a Disposable Face Mask Type II?
Type II Surgical masks, as stated above, act as a barrier against large airborne particles, including germs, dust vapours and fumes, and they should be encouraged to be worn in crowded places such as, schools, hospitals, offices, shopping centres, parks, and on public transport.
How to Wear a Medical Mask?
Nonetheless, irrespective of which mask used, masks on their own are not sufficient to offer a higher degree of protection against Covid 19.
Other essential precautions are necessary, such as social and physical distancing, avoiding large gatherings/public places, coughing or sneezing into bent elbows/tissues and taking care of one’s hygiene. These are helpful in reducing the spread.