As more and more people are beginning to return to work it is not only important for businesses to understand PPE and hygiene requirements but also for individuals to understand how they can best protect themselves and others while out in public. This latest PPE blog post will tell you everything you need to know about face masks including why they may act as an effective barrier against Covid-19, what face mask you should be wearing and where you should be wearing them.
Why Wear A Face Covering?
There has been a lot of debate by experts about the extent to which face coverings are an effective way of preventing Covid-19. Previously, the World Health Organisation (WHO) had stated that only those caring for someone with Covid-19 or those with coronavirus symptoms should wear a face mask. This PPE advice was given due to some concerns that if used incorrectly, face coverings could increase the risk of transmission. There were also worries that wearing a face mask could cause a lax in essential measures such as social distancing and hand washing and thus contribute, rather than prevent, the spreading of the virus. However, this advice has since been changed with new measures stating governments should encourage the public to wear face masks in situations where social distancing is not possible.
There is limited evidence surrounding the effectiveness of masks, as it is still not known how far the corona-virus can travel in the air and, how likely it is that transmission will occur through airborne particles alone. However, experts do believe that masks can act as a barrier, capturing droplets as they exit our airways. Face masks are therefore a way of protecting those around you in case you are an asymptomatic carrier.
When Should I be wearing a Face Covering?
More than 50 countries now require people to cover their faces in certain environments including, Germany, Cuba, France and Spain. From the 15th of June, face coverings in England will become compulsory on public transport, for outpatients and people visiting hospitals. If you do not wear a face-covering you could be refused travel or fined. However, certain groups are exempt from this rule including, children under the age of two, people with a disability or, those with respiratory issues.
Although face masks and coverings in England have only been made compulsory on public transport and in hospitals, the advice has been given that face coverings should be worn in “enclosed spaces where social distancing is not always possible”. This advice is also given by the World Health Organisation. Therefore, you should consider wearing a mask in other spaces such as shops where you could come into close contact with other people.
The rules outlined by the government only apply to England. In Northern Ireland and Scotland, face coverings are advised in situations where social distancing cannot be enforced but it is not mandatory. In Wales, face masks, face shields or other face coverings have not yet been recommended.
What Face Covering Should I Be Wearing?
The UK government has been careful in using the phrase face-covering rather than face mask to avoid the general public buying specialist respiratory face masks that are needed for front line NHS workers.
For everyone apart from those exempt from wearing face masks and people aged over 60, a three-layer mask should be worn. The WHO advises that the outer layer of this mask should be water-resistant with a filter mid-layer and a water-absorbent inner layer. The mask should be secured with ties or elastic around the ears.
See below the range of face coverings we offer at Dencowear, which are appropriate for use outside the NHS;
Our 100% sustainable, anti-bacterial, anti-static, organic face mask allows you to stay safe whilst being sustainable. It conforms to the AFNOR SPEC S76-001 (the highest non-medical European safety standard) and is therefore perfect for anybody travelling on public transport or working in an environment where social distancing cannot always be maintained. They come in a pack of 4 and can be reused up to 15 times. Simply wash at 60 degrees or above and then store in a reusable plastic bag or somewhere the mask cannot become contaminated.
For those over 60, it has been advised by WHO that a medical mask should be worn. For this our pack of 10 surgical masks would be ideal. They are latex-free and constructed from a lightweight material making them breathable They are also certified to EN14683 which means they’ve been tested to meet standards relating to filtration, breathing resistance and splash resistance.
We do also offer high-grade FFP3 respiratory face masks if you are an NHS worker which can be found at https://www.uniforms4healthcare.com/ppe.
Blog by Becky Jackson, Social Media & PR Assistant