How to choose masks for different groups and occasions

This special holiday

“Wear a mask”

It became a necessary operation for us

Everyone must wear a mask when going out

This is self-responsibility

It’s also responsible for society

How should our parents choose masks for their children?

Which mask is more protective?

How should wear under different environment?

Read this article to let you understand!

Under the COVID-19 epidemic, it is recommended to choose an appropriate mask type without excessive protection. According to the nature and risks of epidemic prevention, the following guidelines are proposed:

High risk exposed person

Type of personnel:

  1. All staff working in wards, ICU and observation rooms where COVID 19 patients (confirmed cases, suspected cases) are admitted, including clinicians, nurses, carers, cleaners, cadavers, etc.
  2. Doctors and nurses in the fever clinic of the designated medical institutions in the epidemic area.
  3. Public health physicians conducting epidemiological investigations of confirmed and suspected cases.

Protection Suggestions:

  1. Medical protective mask;
  2. Install safety goggles or protective screen during the first aid of infected patients and tracheal intubation tracheal endoscopic examination.
  3. When there is a shortage of medical respirator, the respirator can be used to replace the respirator that conforms to the standard of N95/KN95 and above, or the self-suction filter respirator can be used. (full or half face type) with filter cotton to prevent particles, and the protection effect of powered air filter respirator is better.

Higher-risk exposed person

Type of personnel:

  1. Medical staff of emergency department, etc.;
  2. Public health physicians conducting epidemiological investigations of persons in close contact
  3. Environmental and biological sample testing personnel related to the outbreak.

Protection Suggestions:
PM respirator with N95/KN95 and above standard.

Medium risk exposed person

Type of personnel:

  1. Medical staff of general outpatient service and ward.
  2. Staff in crowded places, including hospitals, airports, railway stations, subways, ground buses, planes, trains, supermarkets, restaurants and other relatively closed places.
  3. Engaged in epidemic related administrative management, police, security, Courier and other employees.
  4. Home isolation and co-living personnel.

Protection Suggestions:
Wear a surgical mask.

Lower-risk exposed person

Type of personnel:

  1. Public in crowded areas such as supermarkets, shopping malls, vehicles and elevators
  2. Indoor office environment;
  3. Patients receiving medical treatment (except fever) from medical institutions;
  4. Focus on learning and activities for children and students in preschool institutions.

Protection Suggestions:
Wear disposable surgical mask UL children select products with similar performance.

disposable surgical mask

Low-risk personnel

Type of personnel:

  1. Indoor activities at home and scattered residents;
  2. Outdoor activities, including children and students in open space;
  3. Workers in well-ventilated workplace.

Protection Suggestions:
Masks are also not worn in homes, places with good ventilation and low personnel density. Non-medical masks, such as cotton, activated carbon and sponge masks have a certain protective effect, but also reduce the cough, sneeze and talk produced by the role of droplet spread, visible choice.

Usage precautions

Under the COVID-19 epidemic, on the premise of protecting public health, you can appropriately extend the use of masks (use time, use times).

Replacement of mask:

  1. Medical standard respirators are used for a period of time, and the masks are only used by special personnel. When high-risk persons finish work, take off the protective devices in the entry path (drinking water), and go to the toilet, they need to be replaced after re-entering
  2. Immediately replace the mask if it is contaminated by the patient’s blood, respiratory/nasal secretions and other body fluids;
  3. High-risk personnel should be replaced after receiving highly coagulative patients;
  4. Masks worn by other risk categories can be used repeatedly. Wash your hands before wearing the mask and avoid touching the inside of the mask. If the mask is dirty, deformed, damaged or smelly, it should be replaced in time.

Preservation, cleaning and disinfection of masks:

  1. If the mask needs to be used again, it can be hung in a clean, dry and ventilated place or placed in a clean and breathable paper bag. Masks should be stored separately, avoid contact with each other, and identify mask users.
  2. Medical standard respirator should not be cleaned, disinfectant, heating and other methods should not be used for disinfection.
  3. The cleaning of self-priming filter respirator (full or half face type) and power air supply filter respirator shall be carried out according to the instruction manual.
  4. Cotton mask can be cleaned and disinfected. Other non-medical masks should be handled according to the instruction.

How to tell a qualified mask from a fake one

Under the influence of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), face mask has become a necessity in daily life. People are strongly advised to wear face masks when commuting, shopping, etc. to prevent themselves and others from possible droplet transmission and contact with the virus. Unfortunately, when it comes to buying the masks, some may encounter with fake masks that are below standard, made for profit instead of maintaining public health. We can’t possibly be sure where they are produced or how many of them are still in the market, but we can learn how to tell whether a mask is qualified or inferior.

1. fake masks cannot provide efficient protection and can be a possible source of pollution.

The most recommended masks are N95 medical masks, KN95/N95 particulate respirators as filtering masks, disposable surgical masks and disposable medical care masks (most common ones). Among them, the faking problem is most serious in the latter three kinds.

disposable surgical mask, medical care mask, KN95 mask and N95 medical masks
disposable surgical mask, medical care mask, KN95 mask and N95 medical masks

First, let’s talk about KN95 and N95, which correspond to the filtering standards of masks in China and the US respectively, requiring 95% initial efficiency on 0.3-micron particles. It can be seen from the picture that the material they use is of high density, with extremely small gaps and holes so that they can serve as a protection against the virus. The faked ones, however, use cheap filter material with poor protection effects. Some may even add a layer of heat-sealing cotton to add to the thickness. These fake KN95/N95 masks are ineffective at filtering, and they also increase respiratory resistance.

A qualified mask consists of three layers: the outer layer to prevent droplet, the middle one to prevent virus and the inner one to absorb moisture
A qualified mask consists of three layers: the outer layer to prevent droplet, the middle one to prevent virus and the inner one to absorb moisture

Then, there are surgical and medical masks. They are both made of three layers, the outermost layer is made of non-woven fabric with waterproof and electrostatic treatment, the middle layer is the filter, and the inner layer is made of skin-friendly cotton yarn material. Faked ones of these masks usually only have two layers and are much thinner than the qualified ones. They also use cheap filters and rough fabrics.

What’s more, these fake masks are usually produced without sterilization treatments, which means they are already polluted, or their sanitary conditions are not up to standard.

A small workshop for making fake face masks
A small workshop for making fake face masks

2. How to recognize a qualified mask?

It’s important to know whether the masks we’re buying are real or fake. Below are some examples of how to spot the most counterfeited masks.

2.1. 3M N95 particulate respirator

3M is the most common N95 mask brand in China. We can differentiate real and fake ones in two ways:

1. Through the false proof mark provided by the brand

Different types of masks will be equipped with different false proof marks or security labels. For example, the 8210CN face mask has one on the opening of the box, which looks like this:

2. Through smell, printing and certification mark

A real 3M mask doesn’t have a noticeable smell when the package is opened, nor does the rubber band part have a pungent smell, but with a fake one, the smell is easy to notice. Next, a real 3M mask has clear laser printing words on it, while a fake one often has uneven ink printing, and sometimes the words are rough and dim. What’s more, the certificate labels should not be printed on the packaging box but stuck on the masks like this:

For other major brands of N95 and K95 masks, please refer to corresponding official websites for detailed methods for identifying authenticity.

2.2 Disposal surgical masks

1. Log in to the NMPA website.

First, find the registration number on the mask package. Usually, the format is X registration + year of registration + 264 + serial number. Then, you can log in on NMPA.

Enter the registration number on the package and click “enquire”. If the information input is correct but a match product information cannot be found, then the mask is not in line with the production standard and can be identified as fake.

2. Observation and tearing

In addition to the NMPA website, you can judge through a couple of simpler and cruder ways. Fake masks are often made of thin and rough materials, and some are even coarse to see:

Some others are opaque and waterproof and are hard to tell with bare eyes

Some others are opaque and waterproof and are hard to tell with bare eyes:

Up: real; down: fake
Up: real; down: fake

For such masks, you can pick a used one and try to tear it apart:

A fake mask is easy to tear apart
A fake mask is easy to tear apart

A faked mask can be easily ripped, while the real one is difficult to do so even if with a lot of force. The filter material in between may be ripped, but the outer layers are not so easy to break:

A real mask is not easy to break
A real mask is not easy to break

Although this method is more convenient and intuitive, there will be inevitable errors. Therefore, it only serves as a preliminary judgment and going to NMPA for inquiry is more recommended.

Some people may feel desperate to get masks, but please get them from reputable and trust-worthy ways and remember to use the methods above to check the masks’ quality if in doubt. Otherwise, it will be a waste of money and a failure in getting proper protection.

Chinese face masks will become the world’s anti-epidemic supplies

The outbreak has recently spread globally, with confirmed cases on six The outbreak has recently spread globally, with confirmed cases on six continents except Antarctica. There are currently 460 thousand confirmed cases worldwide. Face mask market at home and abroad is in short supply, face mask instantly become the most urgent demand for epidemic prevention materials. At present, it seems that the outbreak is still in the early stage because the overseas outbreak lags behind China, and the masks in the worst-affected areas are directly out of stock.

The United States, South Korea and Japan are scrambling for masks, Global demand grew 100-fold

The world health organization (who) says the world is facing a shortage of protective equipment, including masks, disposable gloves and goggles. In addition, the materials needed to process masks are also very tight, there has been a shortage, inventory is running out, and new orders have been backlog of 4-6 months.

1. U.S. face mask gap is 270 million

Alex azar, the U.S. health secretary, also told the hearing that the US strategic stockpile of masks is only 30 million, but there is currently a need for 300 million masks for healthcare workers alone, so the shortfall is close to 270 million.

2. Demand for surgical masks in South Korea increased by 7650%

The latest confirmed case of novel coronavirus in South Korea was announced this morning, bringing the total to 5,766, 438 more than the previous day. The outbreak has led to a surge in demand for face masks, which the government has been unable to guarantee, with many people queuing for seven hours to buy five or fewer, and public discontent growing. South Korea’s President, has apologized twice, asked for forgiveness and stepped up efforts to secure supplies of face masks.

Demand for surgical masks in South Korea has increased by 7650% in the past month, according to China news service international. In addition, KF94 face masks were recently sold for more than 4,000 won online, up six to eight times from before the outbreak, according to the country’s statistics agency. South Korean pharmacies are reported to be out of stock of all types of masks. Once the drugstore or supermarket has the goods, there will be a long line at the door, or even a “thousand long queue”.

3. Italian masks are out of stock

In the early days of the outbreak in Italy, many people refused to wear masks, and there were mass protests, including a strong attack on a member of parliament who wore one.

But it soon became clear that the situation was not good. There have been outbreaks of different procedures in 19 regions in Italy. Masks have also become popular in Italy and are out of stock.

As of March 4, the number of confirmed covid-19 cases in Italy rose to 2,546, with 79 deaths, Europa reported. A pharmacy in Milan said it had sold out of masks in the morning, while prices at online stores rose from 10 cents to 10 euros. What’s more, people are willing to go to the hospital and steal masks in order to get them. According to the Italian nurses’ union, there have been a number of thefts, most of them of surgical masks. According to reports, Rome-based medical-device company DPI said it ran out of 10 years’ worth of masks in 10 days. The BLS, a maker of masks and protective gear, said it had received orders for 10 million masks in recent days, compared with an annual market demand of 15 million to 20 million masks in Italy, meaning it received 50 percent of Italy’s annual production capacity in a matter of days.

Many countries limit the purchase, export, production capacity is still insufficient

Countries have taken varying measures to address the shortage of masks, but this is still a drop in the bucket.

The U.S. government, unable to immediately move back to foreign factories, is actively seeking a massive increase in production at home. Vice President Mike pence said the U.S. government is in talks to sign a contract with 3M to increase production by 35 million masks a month. At the same time, the United States is encouraging other mask suppliers to help increase production. The U.S. department of health and human services (HHS) recently said the government is committed to buying up all the remaining masks after the outbreak to ensure there is not a large surplus of masks in stock. But in the face of a $270m shortfall, this seems unlikely to fully solve the problem.

The government has decided to increase the number of masks sold through public channels, such as pharmacies, post offices and farmers’ association supermarkets, to 80 percent of total production from 50 percent, KBS reported on March 5. At the same time, the south Korean government is exploring a total ban on exports. At present, the south Korean government decided to take temporary measures to limit the purchase of two masks per person per week, and through the safe use of medical services to prevent repeat purchase. In addition, the current production of masks in South Korea can reach more than 10 million on weekdays, but halved on weekends. South Korea’s government decided to push ahead with subsidies to boost weekend production. But under such measures, the gap is still very big in South Korea, a man in his 80s, queuing for seven hours to get a number to buy masks, only to buy a few masks, and many people can not buy masks at all.

In Italy, in order to expand the supply of masks, the Italian COVID-19 emergency committee said that the government had established a special channel for mask procurement in cooperation with the Italian federation of industrialists, and would allocate good masks to different regions according to the epidemic situation in different regions. At present, some regional governments have urgently purchased 300,000 ffp3 masks and 200,000 surgical masks.

The French government has begun requisitioning face masks from the population. “We will requisition all protective masks manufactured and in stock and distribute them to medical workers and French people infected with novel coronavirus,” macron said in an earlier message on social media. On March 4, the French government issued a decree requiring the requisition by May 31 of all FFP2 respirators and disposable medical masks owned and produced by public and private entities.

The world is waiting for the “Chinese mask”

Fifty percent of the world’s masks are made in China, and the other 50 percent of the world’s mask makers import a significant portion of their ingredients from China. More than 20 million masks were produced in China every day before the outbreak. After the adjustment of mask production capacity in the fight against the epidemic, the daily production of masks in China has reached 116 million, which has increased nearly five times. Such speed and power, perhaps only China can achieve.

1. Expand production line to restore production capacity

China north equipment group said the first folding mask production line allocated by the national development and reform commission was successfully debugged on March 1, and the daily output will gradually reach 50,000. The second production line equipment was also delivered to Hubei Huaqiang for equipment debugging. It is expected that the daily production of masks in the two production lines will reach 100,000 on March 10.

At present, many local mask manufacturers are also restoring production capacity, such as Jiangsu, Guangdong, Jiangxi, Henan and other provinces are increasing the rate of return to work, and then the daily production capacity of masks will be expanded.

2. More than 700 companies such as BYD and Foxconn produce masks across the border

Many companies join in the team, the cross-border production mask eye check pro, according to data to industrial and commercial registration change information, since January 1, 2020 the solstice on February 7, scope of business for nearly 4000 companies added “masks, protective clothing, disinfectant, thermometer, medical apparatus and instruments,” such as business, among them, the scope of business of new medical devices as many as 3647 enterprises. Among them, BYD expects to produce 5 million masks a day, Shanghai GM Wuling 1.7 million, and many manufacturing bigwigs have joined the army. This is bound to make a great contribution to the daily production of masks in China.

3. Mask raw materials continue to expand production

With the continuous improvement of mask production capacity, the production capacity of melt spraying cloth, the core material of mask manufacturing, is also continuously improved. Sinopec press office announced on March 2 that China petrochemical Yizheng chemical fiber 4,000 tons of polypropylene melt-blown nonwovens project feasibility report officially completed, the project is expected to be completed in the middle of April, when the daily production of melt-blown fabric can reach 12 tons, can be used to process 12 million medical masks. According to the introduction, this project altogether constructs 8 fusion-spraying cloth production lines, the production capacity total 4000 tons per year, after putting into operation can produce 8 tons of N95 fusion-spraying cloth per day, or medical plane mask raw material 12 tons, these raw materials can produce 2.4 million N95 masks, or medical plane mask 12 million pieces.

The outbreak is proof that medical supplies have been upgraded to “strategic materials” overnight, and national stockpiles are on the agenda.

How to wear masks in the right way

As the epidemic outbreaks around the world, many people began to wear masks to protect themselves from infection.

But do you know the right way to wear a disposable mask? Can you tell the difference between the front and back of a mask and the top and bottom? Wearing the wrong mask will not only make your breathing uncomfortable and uncomfortable, but also reduce your ability to filter the air. Today I’m going to teach you how to wear a mask correctly.

Tips for wearing a mask correctly

Step 1: First we get a disposable mask and distinguish its front and back. In terms of color, the darker side of the mask is the front side, while the opposite side of the mask is lighter. From the material, generally with the hand feels smooth texture is opposite side, and feels a sense of friction is positive side. When we wear a mask, the opposite side should be close to your skin, the positive side should be outwards.

Step 2: We need to distinguish between the top and bottom of the mask. The disposable mask has a very thin and bent metal strip above which is also the top of the mask. After distinguishing between the front and back of the mask and the top and bottom, the first step in wearing the mask is to squeeze the metal strip with both hands and make the upper of the mask close to the bridge of your nose, so that the mask is not easy to fall down.

Step 3: Finally please hang two ropes of the mask above the ears. We also need to put the mask with the hand down to stretch, to put the mouth and chin all wrapped up. This is the real meaning of the mask to wear, to have the effect of dust and virus.

Four types of masks are commonly available on the market

1. Activated carbon mask

 Activated carbon mask
Activated carbon mask
  • Protection effect: It can effectively block harmful gases such as benzene, formaldehyde, peculiar smell and foul smell in the air, and protect human health. However, it cannot effectively block particles well such as “PM2.5”.
  • Use with caution: Activated carbon itself is also a kind of particle, is likely to be inhaled by the wearer. COPD patients should be careful to ware.
  • Usage suggestion: It can be used on special occasions, such as home decoration. When there is an obvious smell of formaldehyde, wearing an activated carbon mask can have a certain filtering effect.

2. Ordinary cotton mask

Ordinary cotton mask
Ordinary cotton mask
  • protection effect: Cotton mask can play a very small protective effect, can only block some dust and coarse particles. If the air quality is good, this can be used. In addition, when cold air comes in winter, it is also a good choice to go out as a facial protection warmer.
  • Use with caution: This kind of mask is widely used, but there are no corresponding standards and rules for use. It is not recommended for the elderly and children to use it frequently.
  • Usage suggestion: The cotton mask can be disinfected by soaking in hot water and exposing to the sun every day. Do not rub forcefully when cleaning.

3.N95 professional dust respirator

N95 professional dust respirator
N95 professional dust respirator
  • Protection effect: Professional dustproof mask has good sealing effect and is suitable for use in special environment, such as in public places with large number of people, poor air quality and poor circulation, and possibly a large number of pathogens.
  • Use with caution: Respiratory resistance is large, especially not suitable for patients with cardiovascular diseases and respiratory diseases. It is easy for the patient to have difficulty breathing and feel dizzy because of lack of oxygen.
  • Suggestions for use: People with special needs need to take off and breathe for half an hour after wearing it for half an hour. Wearing it for a long time will damage the respiratory system.

4. Disposable medical mask

Disposable medical mask
Disposable medical mask
  • Protection effect: Surgical mask mainly filters the exhaled air to prevent infection between doctors and patients. They are mostly made from non-woven fabrics, or similar large-aperture fibers, and are not effective against PM2.5. The thicker the mask, the worse the permeability. If you do not pay attention to the use of hygiene, will also lead to the growth of bacteria.
  • Use with caution: The elderly, children and other sensitive groups can be used.
  • Suggestions: Wear it for about 1 hour, and take off the breath for a period of time.
  • Under the outbreak of the COVID-19, please wear the medical masks and professional N95 masks to protect yourself away from the coronavirus.

Which masks is useless and which actually protect against coronavirus?

Since the outbreak, people in China and elsewhere have flocked to local pharmacies to buy medical masks. But there are different types of masks on the market, not all of them are effective against this virus. So, which masks can really protect?

Do you know which masks is useless?

The following four types of masks are not effective for COVID-19: sponge masks, cotton masks, paper masks, activated carbon masks. These types of masks can only shield dust, particles, and the density of the masks is greater than the size of the virus, so these types of masks are ineffective for COVID-19.

otton mask
otton mask
activated carbon mask
activated carbon mask
sponge mask
sponge mask
paper mask
paper mask

Now for you the most important is which is useful?

Surgical Masks vs. Respirators

There are two different types of masks: surgical masks and respirators.

Disposable medical mask
Disposable medical mask

Surgical masks are disposable medical devices that can be bought in pharmacies and prevent infectious diseases from spreading through “droplets.” “When the wearer exhales, these droplets may be saliva or secretions from the upper respiratory tract.

If worn by a caregiver, the surgical mask protects the patient and his or her environment (air, surface, equipment, surgical site). If worn by an infectious patient, it prevents the patient from contaminating his or her surroundings. Masks should not be worn for more than 3 to 8 hours.

Surgical masks can also protect the wearer from the danger of splashing biological fluids. In this case, the surgical mask must have a waterproof layer. It can also be equipped with a sun visor to protect the eyes.

However, surgical masks cannot prevent “airborne” infectious diseases, so it cannot prevent the wearer from being infected by viruses such as coronavirus.


A protective mask is a personal protective device that prevents the wearer from inhaling harmful aerosols (dust, smoke, mist), steam or gases (disinfectants, anesthetic gases). Do not use when dispensing, to protect the wearer from airborne infectious diseases such as coronavirus, atypical pneumonia, H1N1 and other viruses.

Respirators are divided into two categories: insulated and filtered. The filter respirator consists of a mask and a filtering device. Sometimes the filter element is integrated into the mask. Depending on the type of filtration, this mask is effective only for particulates, only for certain gases and vapors, or for particulates, gases, and vapors.

Filtered respirators can sometimes be equipped with a breathing valve to increase user comfort. The valve can prevent condensation in the mask, make water mist on the glasses, and help users breathe conveniently.

It is worth noting that the respirator also protects the wearer from inhaling the “droplets” of infectious pathogens. The respirator can be used once or repeatedly. In the second case, you can replace the filter when it is full.

Mask protection recommendations
Mask protection recommendations

What Are the Standards?

Both masks are subject to standards and regulations in different countries or geographic regions.

Medical masks are tested in the direction of exhalation (from inside to outside). These tests consider the efficiency of bacterial filtration.

In Europe, they must comply with the European standard EN 14683, which has 3 levels of bacterial filtration efficiency (BFE1, BFE2 type R). In the United States, they must respect ASTM standards with three levels of protection (from low exposure to liquids to high risk exposures to liquids).
Respiratory masks are tested in the direction of inspiration (from outside to inside). The test takes into account the efficiency of the filter and leakage to the face.

In Europe, they must comply with the European standard EN 149: 2001, which has three disposable particulate masks (FFP1, FFP2, and FFP3).

  • FFP1 refers to the least filtered of the three types of masks, with an aerosol filtration rate of at least 80% and a leakage of up to 22%. This mask is mainly used for dust masks (home improvement and various tasks).
  • FFP2 masks have a minimum filtration rate of 94% and a maximum leakage rate of 8%. They are used primarily by construction, agriculture and health care professionals to fight the flu virus. They are currently used to prevent coronavirus.
  • FFP3 mask is the most filtered mask in ffp. They have a minimum filtration rate of 99% and an internal leakage rate of up to 2%, preventing very fine particles such as asbestos.

So, Which Masks Protect Against Coronavirus?

Patients with infectious diseases should wear surgical masks as soon as possible when they suspect infectious diseases.

In Europe, caregivers must wear at least FFP2 or FFP3 respirators when caring for infected or suspected infections in order to maximize the filtration of particulate matter and aerosols.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the N95 respirator can filter 95% of particulates in the air, and can even filter out bacteria and viruses. Therefore, it is necessary for the nursing staff to wear N, R or P type respirators.

This table will help you learn more about different useful types of masks

Should a Disposable or Reusable Mask be Used?

Dust mask
Dust mask

Medical masks are disposable medical devices that must be handled in an appropriate manner after use. Respirators (FFP / N, R or P) can be disposable or reusable. In the second case, you can replace the filter when it is full.

The useful life of a surgical mask or respirator is provided by the manufacturer. It varies for different uses. Generally speaking, the pollution time is between 3 and 8 hours according to a series of external factors such as the concentration of pollutants and air humidity, temperature, and the amount of air inhaled.

For a respirator equipped with a gas filter, if the wearer begins to smell the gas, he must immediately leave the work area and replace the filter. Similarly, in the case of a dust removal filter, if the wearer starts to feel an increase in suction power, he or she should leave the place and replace the filter. These masks are mainly worn by workers or firefighters who come into contact with chemicals.