7 Things You Should Consider When Using An FFP2 Face Mask

You've probably heard about FFP2 face masks. If you upgrade your face mask game, you should consider a few important things while wearing the FFP2 mask:

FFP2 masks offer more protection than cloth masks.
Source: imago images / Westend61

Before leaving the house, there's a new item we need to take with us: the face mask. It protects us from Covid-19 and we contribute to a feeling of solidarity, since we also protect others by wearing a mask. There's also the fact that new corona variants surface all over the world; many people look for added protection because of them. In Germany, for instance, it has been mandatory to wear a medical face mask or a FFP2 mask in public transportation and in grocery stores since January 2021.

If you're in need for extra protection from the virus, there are several things you should bear in mind when wearing an FFP2 mask:

It's important to buy the right face mask.
Source: IMAGO / photothek

#1 Buy the Right Face Mask

If you've decided to go for an FFP2 face mask, you should keep in mind that it needs to have the CE marking. FFP2 face masks have a four-digit number on them. Further, the European Standard EN 149 should be clearly visible next to the manufacturer's brand. Otherwise, you run the risk of buying fake FFP2 masks that don't guarantee the same level of protection as the certified ones.

FFP2 masks must be positioned under the glasses.
Source: imago images / Westend61

#2 Be Careful When you're Wearing Glasses

People who wear glasses and a face mask know the problem: foggy glasses. If you're wearing a FFP2 mask, you should also be aware of how you position the mask. It's important to wear the face mask under your glasses - otherwise, it won't cover the area around your nose and cheeks sufficiently.

For people who have long hair, it's important to keep it away from one's face.
Source: imago images / Westend61

#3 Long Hair = Problematic

If you have long hair, you have to make sure that your hair doesn't touch the face mask. Also, if your hair gets under the face mask - so in between your skin and the mask - it doesn't offer enough protection from the virus. Optimal filtration is only guaranteed when there is an airtight fit to the skin. If your hair is contaminated with the virus and touches the inside of the mask, the risk of infection increases.

The FFP2 face mask should be snug.
Source: imago images / Westend61

#4 You Need to Adjust the FFP2 Face Mask Correctly

By now, we all know that face masks need to cover both mouth and nose. FFP2 and surgical masks have an integrated wire. This allows you to adjust the face mask on the bridge of your nose. It should be quite snug!

Some men have to get rid of their beards for wearing an FFP2 face mask.
Source: imago images / Arnulf Hettrich

#5 Beards = Problematic

We're sorry, dudes, but you have to get rid of your beards! Long beards can render the FFP2 face mask useless, because facial hair can negatively impact the mask's sealing.

The FFP2 face mask has to fit right.
Source: imago images / Westend61

#6 Wear Your FFP2 Face Mask Correctly

If you think that simply wearing the mask is all you have to do, you're wrong. Before putting it on, you should unfold it completely and wear it the right way round. That means, if you can't feel the wire around the bridge of your nose, you're wearing it upside down.

The FFP2 face mask should be air-dried.
Source: imago images / Kirchner-Media

#7 This Is How You Clean Your FFP2 Face Mask Correctly

You probably know how to clean and disinfect your cloth mask correctly. However, you can't apply the same procedures to cleaning your FFP2 face mask. Be aware that washing your surgical mask or your FFP2 mask will diminish its filter performance.

Even though FFP2 face masks are generally designed for single-use, you can re-use them if you've only worn them for short periods of time (e.g. for doing the groceries). After wearing the mask, let it air-dry for 7 days. 

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