Face masks have become a part of everyday life for many during the Covid pandemic, with people wearing different types of masks depending on the situation.
Those working in healthcare settings wear recommended personal protective equipment (PPE), with the grade of face masks usually varying from those worn by the general public.
New research has now found that when one NHS hospital upgraded the type of face masks worn by its staff on Covid wards to FFP3, it saw infection cases fall by up to 100 per cent.
But what are FFP3 face masks, how much do they cost and where can I buy one?
Here’s what you need to know.
What are FFP3 face masks?
FFP3 face masks act in a similar way to other face masks, but they have added protection against the transmission of Covid.
FFP3 face masks are used to provide protection from viruses, bacteria, and solid or liquid toxic aerosols, being commonly used in healthcare settings.
FFP3 masks have been found to be 99 per cent effective against airborne infectious diseases.
They also tend to be better shaped to your face and have a valve to help wearers breathe as the filtration material is much thicker than some other masks.
Where can I buy FFP3 face masks and how much do they cost?
Although most high street shops don’t stock this type of mask, some online retailers sell this product.
Chemist Click sells a FFP3 face mask with valve for £4.49.
However, Chemist Click notes that FFP3 masks are not usually reusable and should be disposed of after one-time use.
Most respirators will be marked with the letters ‘NR’, which stands for ‘Not Reusable’ due to infectious particles not being visible to the naked eye and it is therefore not possible to tell if your respirator is contaminated.
FFP3 masks are not washable as high heat and certain liquids can destroy the structure of the mask, making them ineffective. If your respirator becomes infected, you should discard it and use a new one.
LloydsPharmacy is also selling a pack of five FFP3 face masks for £27.06.
The website says: “The FFP3 particle filtering face mask has been designed and manufactured to the highest standards to help protect you against infectious respiratory diseases and bacteria.
“These single-use, disposable face masks have a particle filtration rate of 99 per cent and a FFP3 rating meaning they protect against materials in concentrations and block both liquid and solid aerosols.”
Amazon is also selling a wide range of FFP3 masks, with prices starting from £19.99.