As we swiftly approach two years of pandemic life, it's easy to feel bummed that things we safely rediscovered in 2021 — indoor dining! real holidays! a fleeting sense of normalcy!— have been thwarted by the Omicron variant. One more thing that has been added back into the fold: Plenty of talk about face masks, mostly to do with why they're more important than ever nowadays.
You already know that Omicron is 100% That B*tch when it comes to being highly transmissible, so allow us to briefly school you on GOV.UK's mask guidelines: include at least two layers of fabric (the World Health Organisation recommends three, depending on the fabric), fit comfortably but securely against the face and ideally include a nose wire. You also have likely seen health experts recommending ditching cloth masks for ones that offer a higher level of filtration, such as disposable N95 or KN95s (with similar masks known as FFP2 or FFP3 available in the UK) . Luckily, these masks are largely available (and not as meh as you may think), and are an excellent, relatively affordable way to ensure that the only thing positive in your life is your outlook on the future of the pandemic. Ahead, a comprehensive look at why the masks are so great, where to buy them, and how to make sure the one's you are buying are the real deal.
Why are FFP2 masks more effective against the Omicron variant?
As we hinted at before, FFP2/FFP3 are among the best masks out there to keep you protected from COVID-19. This is largely to do with the multi-layer construction; as they have five layers between you and the outside world. In comparison, a standard surgical mask has three. Another reason is the style of the mask itself; turns out, the duck bill-shape isn't just a funky style statement — the conical design tends to create a better seal around the nose and mouth when compared to a basic cloth or surgical mask, which tend to be flat, rectangular shapes that bend laterally across the face. (I personally find the style quite comfortable for this reason, since pointed tip also feels more breathable than other masks.)
How can I make sure my FFP2 is not counterfeit?
An easy way to verify if your mask is legit is to look for the CE logo on the mask packaging to prove they are certified in Europe. That being said, any mask is better than forgoing one at all, so even if you have to suit up with a surgical mask, remember that it's better than nothing.
How should my FFP2 mask feel on?
Your mask should feel snug and fit over your nose and mouth, and when properly adjusted, there should be no gaps of air flowing near your nose or the sides of the mask. (You can check for any pockets of air by cupping your hands around the sides of the mask.) Once you've fitted the nose wire, you should be able to feel warm air come through the front of the mask and may be able to see the mask material move in and out with each breath.
Do I need to double-mask with a FFP2?
Shop This Story:
PurifyLabs FFP2 NR Particle Filtering Respirator Mask
Nufasion 5-Layer Filter FFP2/KN95 Masks
Boots Protective FFP2 NR Face Mask
Medisana FFP2 Certified Respirator Respiratory Mask
Hongzhi Kn95/FFp2 5-Layer Disposable Face Masks
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