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Surgical masks: characteristics, types and certifications


The health emergency from Sars-Cov2-19 has made masks an object of daily use. There are different types of surgical masks available on the market and which can be purchased in Italy.

The health emergency from Sars-Cov2-19 has made masks an object of daily use. While until last year the masks represented personal protective equipment (PPE) used only in specific circumstances, currently all citizens are required to wear masks in public places and in all situations in which one must come into contact with people. not cohabiting.

There are different types of surgical masks available on the market and which can be freely purchased in Italy. Among the most requested are the type 2 certified surgical masks , devices that have a very high filtering capacity and are made to wrap well the face, thus making them comfortable and light.

But before proceeding with the purchase it is useful to deepen the characteristics of the main models and the certifications that are necessary so that the masks can be considered valid personal protective equipment .

The types of surgical masks


Surgical masks are first of all devices that have the function of filtering the flow of outgoing air . The tests carried out on these PPE in fact examine the exhalation phase of the respiratory cycle, in order to verify that the mask is able to reduce the dispersion into the environment of viruses and bacteria carried by the breath and saliva of infected subjects.

The reference standard for the classification of surgical masks is the European standard EN 14683 , according to which surgical masks can be divided into four types in relation to their level of effectiveness.

The first classification is made by evaluating the filtering capacity, taking into account that it will not be possible to consider certified those masks that will not be able to filter at least 95% of the bacteria in the outgoing air stream. On the basis of the filtering capacity, it is therefore possible to identify the type I surgical masks which have a bacterial filtration efficiency > 95% and the type II surgical masks which instead guarantee a bacterial filtration efficiency > 98% .

The surgical masks are also subjected to a particular test which is aimed at evaluating the resistance to projection for these individual protective devices. The masks with the highest degree of resistance are classified with the letter R , so you can have IR type masks and IIR type masks.

The type of mask generally recommended for people who are not exposed to specific risks is the surgical mask type II – EN14683 . This has an efficiency of bacterial filtration greater than 98% and consists of three different protective layers that effectively block the drops of saliva, preventing them from being dispersed into the environment. The surgical mask type II should be preferred to type I for the greater filtration capacity, while there are no differences regarding the comfort of use.

Purchase only certified masks

Masks help reduce the spread of respiratory diseases and are effective protective devices for the health of the individual and the community. However, it is essential to buy only certified masks , choosing to wear certified PPE according to the law.

The European legislation aims to guarantee high quality standards , so that the surgical masks can really filter the outgoing air flow and become valid allies in the fight against the spread of Sars-Cov2-19 and other transmission viruses and bacteria. respiratory.

The purchase of certified masks also ensures that these have been produced in compliance with the UNI EN ISO 10993-1: 2010 standard, a standard in force not only for these PPE, but for all medical devices. Certified masks can be found in pharmacies, or they can be conveniently purchased online from sites specialized in the sale of medical devices and personal protective equipment to deal with this period of health emergency.

Riproduzione riservata © - WT

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