Everything you need to know about protective face masks

Everything you need to know about protective face masks

Blue face masks on a pink background


Face masks have been a popular topic of discussion in recent times.


This is due to the ongoing debate on whether they can help protect from the coronavirus and how effective they are in controlling the spread of the virus in environments where social distancing isn’t possible.


The government have now issued the advice that the public should use a face mask in certain circumstances to help prevent the spread of the virus, so it is important that you know when and how to use a face mask effectively and how to choose the best face mask for you.


We have created this handy guide to tell you everything you need to know about face masks, from official advice released by the government and The World Health Organisation, to exploring the features of different types of face masks.


Should I wear a face mask?


If you know you are going to be in an enclosed space, such as a shop or train, the government has advised that you wear a face mask.


This is because you will be in contact with people who are not in your household, in an environment where social distancing isn’t possible and face masks are useful to help prevent the spread of the virus from person to person.


Similarly, advice published by the World Health Organisation (WHO) states that anyone who is coughing or sneezing or looking after a person with COVID-19 should wear a face mask.


It is said that sharing is caring, but no one will thank you for sharing a potentially deadly disease.


How should you wear a protective face mask?


No matter which mask you decide to use, it is important that you know how to wear it.


Before wearing any mask, it is vital that you clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitiser or soap and water, as you could risk transferring the virus from your hands to your face.


Ensure that your mouth and nose are covered by the mask and there are no gaps.


Do not touch the mask with unwashed hands.


Moisture from your breath will eventually cause a face mask to become damp, even if it is a reusable one.


When this occurs it is important to replace it or wash and reuse if it is reusable.


Never reuse a disposable mask.


To safely remove a face mask, avoid touching the front of the mask and instead remove it from behind by pulling the straps over your head or from behind your ears.


Discard the mask immediately in a closed bin and wash your hands with hand sanitiser or soap and water.


What face mask should you use?


There are a wide range of facemasks available on the market and each has a different variety of features.


From disposable masks to more complex respiratory face masks, here is a quick overview to help you choose the best face mask for your needs.


Disposable Facemasks



These are simple, single-use, protective face masks that help to prevent the incidence of cross-contamination.


They provide a barrier that helps to reduce the number of germs spread by the wearer through tiny droplets that are released when we talk, cough or sneeze.


They are an easy, lightweight face mask that are comfortable to use when visiting shops, travelling on public transport or in enclosed spaces where social distancing isn’t possible.


However, they can only be worn once and should be disposed and replaced when they become damp through use.



KN95 Respirator Face Masks



KN95 face masks provide a higher level of protection compared with single-use, disposable face masks and can provide protection from chemicals, dust and particles, as well as harmful airborne substances.


These face masks are designed with 5 layers of fabric which provide a highly effective filtration system that is capable of filtering out a minimum of 95% of particles.


This face mask is useful for preventing harmful substances from entering the respiratory system and can provide protection in many environments including:


  • On construction sites by preventing the inhalation of dust and other small particles
  • In agriculture to avoid vapours, fumes and mould spores from entering our bodies
  • In healthcare to prevent cross-contamination and protect from germs/infection
  • For personal use to avoid the spread of infection from yourself and to provide protection from other people’s germs

Although the KN95 respirator face masks provide a greater degree of protection compared to the simple, disposable face masks, they are single-use and must be disposed of and replaced when they become damp.



FFP2 Breathable Respirator Face Masks

This is a moulded style respirator mask that meets the EN 149 FFP2 standard.


It is created with a material that is soft on the skin, to prevent irritation and its flexible edges easily adapt to the contours of the users face for a comfortable fit that still provides a high level of protection and low breathing resistance during use.


Similar to both, the simple, disposable face masks and KN95 respirator masks, FFP2 masks need to be disposed of and replaced when they become damp as they no longer provide effective protection.


Save 88%
FFP2 Moulded Breathable Face Mask - 10 Pack
Out of Stock


Reusable Face Masks

Durable reusable masks are created with washable material that is designed to absorb and filter harmful airborne particles and can be reused.


The highly effective filtration system filters more than 95% of harmful particulates and its quick-drying material makes it a convenient, reusable option.


Unlike the simple disposable masks or KN95 or FFP2 respirator face masks, reusable masks provide a high degree of protection and do not need to be disposed of and replaced when they become damp – simply wash and use again!


Can face masks protect you from Coronavirus?


Face masks can help to prevent the spread of Coronavirus, as they can stop the droplets that we release when we talk, sneeze or cough, from travelling to other people.


When you wear a mask, you are protecting others from your own germs and, similarly, when other people around you wear face masks they are protecting you from their germs, therefore reducing the spread of diseases such as the Coronavirus.


However, face masks are only effective when used in conjunction with frequent and thorough hand hygiene and responsible disposal of face masks.


To ensure effective protection, apply and handle masks with clean hands and frequently clean your hands with either soap and water or hand sanitiser.


Do NOT discard your masks on the floor, out of car windows or in public spaces.


Dispose your used masks in a closed bin, wash your hands immediately after disposal and always avoid touching your face, particularly your eyes, nose and mouth with unclean hands.


Olivia Appleton - Medical Content Writer
James O'Loan - CEO & Prescribing Pharmacist
James O'Loan , CEO & Prescribing Pharmacist on 17 September 2021
How we ensure accuracy in our content