What Face Masks are Most Effective?

04 February 2021
Medicare Facemasks
Masks are a common sight nowadays as they are recommended to be worn in indoor environments and crowded outdoor spaces in order to protect ourselves and others from COVID-19. Any mask is better than no mask, but we must make sure to wear one that is effective and know how to use it properly.

Face MasksWe have compiled the 3 most popular masks on the market and compared their qualities and differences. We have also included a guide on how to correctly take on and off your mask.

Click here for the the full infographic.

FFP2/KN95 Masks

KN95 masks are designed to cover the mouth and nose and has a unique 3D shape so it is easier to breathe through and wear for long periods of time. Its Bacterial Filtration Efficiency (The rate at which bacteria droplets are contained by the mask when talking, coughing, sneezing, etc) is over 95%, is individually sterilised and sealed and offers a comfortable, secure fit.  

3 Ply Masks

Before COVID-19, 3-ply masks masks were more commonly used by healthcare professionals as part of infection control during surgery, procedures or dealing with a patient who has a contagious illness. 3 ply masks are disposable and cannot be reused. They provide 95% bacterial filtration efficiency and have an adaptable nose bar that helps conform the mask to your face.  

These masks were in high demand globally when the pandemic first started and quickly sold out. Manufacturers were under a lot of pressure to produce PPE, so the general public were encouraged to make their own or buy cloth masks and reuse them after washing.

Reusable Cloth Face Coverings

Reusable Cloth Face Coverings are used as an alternative to certified PPE and are not regulated so their efficiency is unknown. Unless they are layered, they do not provide a lot of protection or filtration. If you use reusable face coverings, make sure to wash them every day to avoid contamination.

For more information on masks, COVID-19 and restrictions, please visit hse.ie/coronavirus