The high degree of protection mask worn by healthcare professionals, known as the PFF3, can provide up to 100% protection against coronavirus infection. Already the common surgical masks have a much greater risk of catching the virus, assesses research by the NHS Foundation Trust, in Cambridge, UK.
British health professionals have been campaigning for workers to receive better personal protective equipment. In Brazil, the masks most used by health professionals are PFF2 and N95. Neurologist Luciana Alves explains that there is not much difference between the two, but both are much safer than the surgical ones.
The N95 follow the regulatory standards of the United States, where they are produced and marketed, and guarantee a minimum filtration efficiency of 95% of the particles. PFF2 are produced in accordance with the technical standard of the Brazilian Association of Technical Standards (ABNT), and guarantee the filtration of at least 94% of the particles.
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“The PFF2/N95 masks are held by elastics behind the head, which seal more than the masks attached to the ears, as they do not leave spaces for air to enter on the sides”, explained the doctor, who is unaware of the use of the PFF3 model in Brazil .
The British research found the surgical masks resistant to fluids, but fragile and loose, which prevents the filtration of infectious aerosols, tiny virus particles that can remain in the air and are sources of infection by coronaviruses.
The study found that teams were infecting themselves with covid despite following infection control protocols. It was then that they adopted the PFF3 masks, which are more closed in the face and designed to filter aerosols. In the weeks following the change, the rate of infections among health workers on wards dropped considerably.
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