“If we all wore well-fitting FFP2 masks, the probability of contagion from coronavirus would be close to zero”


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“If we all wore well-fitting FFP2 masks, the probability of contagion from coronavirus would be close to zero.” Jose Maria Lagaron, a researcher at the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) and a specialist in filtration materials and masks, explains one of the keys to dealing with the sixth wave of coronaviruss, which in the case of the Valencian Community is providing the highest numbers of infections since the beginning of the pandemic.

According to Lagarón, “there are studies, such as one recently published –
see scientific portal PNAS
-, who affirm that if we all wore FFP2 masks that fit well to the nose, the probability of contagion would be close to zero ».

According to researchers at german max planck, if an FFP2 mask is used tight to the nose and with the simplest fastening more extended to the ears, the risk of coronavirus infection is almost zero, even after being in contact for twenty minutes with an infected person.

This shows, according to the expert of the CSIC, «The importance of choosing the most suitable masks, such as FFP2, and their correct placement».

In this regard, it is necessary to choose the most suitable size of FFP2 mask for the user’s nose-chin height, flatten the nose clip to eliminate the V-shape, adapt it on the finger that most closely resembles the arch of the nose, and press once placed to seal well. The rule indicates that to maximize mask fit, the fastening must be adjustable and, therefore, according to the standard, FFP2 masks must have the most flexible adjustable fastenings possible. If the mask is attached to the ears, it must be complemented with an adjustable extender at the nape, and if it has bands on the nape and neck, these should also have a mechanism to regulate their fit.

There is a wide debate at the moment about the most appropriate adjustment of the FFP2 masks. In this sense, Lagarón clarifies that «the optimal fit is achieved with various dimensions of masks, at least SM and ML, and with an adjustable extender at the nape, in this way, different head height and width dimensions allow them to be adjusted. Thus, masks with different dimensions ensure adjustment to different face lengths, and the adjustable fastening allows adjusting different head widths. Fortunately, the recently published study suggests that the contagion phenomenology would not occur (it is minimal) if we all wore an FFP2 mask with a good fit to the nose, even when the fastening is to the ears.

Therefore, it is recommended diferents sizes to choose the one that best suits the physiognomy of the face. In this way we will avoid, among other things, that when speaking the mask is dislodged, as happens more frequently with boat-shaped masks. There are other recommendations to improve the effectiveness of the masks, such as avoiding a beard, long sideburns or certain hairstyles that can interfere with support.

Protection against the omicron variant

“In addition to fit and support, now more than ever, with the presence of the variant omicron, and as a form of additive prevention, the use of non-inhalable solid viricides in the masks, especially in the filter, preferably not exogenous to the body, and the possibility of disinfecting the inside and outside of the masks in a simple way is appropriate. We already anticipated this at the start of the pandemic and that is why the masks we have developed have a very effective and safe viricide in the filter, and allow them to be disinfected with simple sprays of alcohol diluted with water”, concludes the CSIC expert.

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