Do you know the difference between a mask and a respirator and which of the respirators offers the best protection?

A few months ago, we would describe the respirator as a work aid that is used to protect the respiratory tract from dust, dirt and hazardous particles, especially in industry and construction. Today, respirators are at the forefront of the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and help protect the health not only of doctors and front-line people, but also of all those in need of greater protection.

Although drapes and respirators are used and used in a similar way, their protective function is very different and it is therefore good to know their basic differences.

Veils prevent the penetration of microorganisms out of the body of an infected person and thus protect the environment from the wearer himself. So the company’s well-known motto applies: “My veil protects you, your veil protects me.” But it is important to know that a veil does not 100% protect a healthy person from a possible infectious disease. In terms of effectiveness, a conventional veil barely achieves the same level of protection as the weakest respirator. On the other hand, using a veil is obviously much more effective than not protecting your nose and mouth at all. Therefore, wearing it should definitely not be underestimated. Although the filtering ability of the drape is not as effective as that of a respirator, it is still able to protect its wearer from infection droplets, aerosols, dust and smog particles or pollen.
respirator without exhalation valve
Respirators are filter half masks that serve to protect the user and his respiratory system. They effectively cover the nose and mouth so that dust particles or microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses or fungal spores do not penetrate.
Respirators are made of non-woven fabric and have a wide range of applications – they can serve as protection during infectious diseases, even during normal work, for example on a construction site.
Both the respirator and the drape should rest directly on the face, so it is recommended to always place them on the shaved face. Because the respirator does not protect the entire face, it is advisable to supplement it with a protective shield or goggles. Keep in mind that this is a one-time protection that is not intended for repeated use.


With exhalation valve
respirator with exhalation valve
The exhalation valve makes it easier for the exhaled warm air to escape, thanks to which there is no unnecessary wetting of the material. However, valve respirators have the disadvantage that the valve itself is not filtered, and if the wearer is already infected, it spreads the infection freely to its surroundings through the valve. With regard to the surroundings, it is therefore more appropriate to use either a respirator without an exhalation valve, or to supplement the respirator with a valve with an ordinary drape, which, however, can be very discomforting, especially in the summer months.

Without exhalation valve
A respirator without an exhalation valve protects not only the wearer but also his surroundings, as it is able to trap all harmful particles and microorganisms.

Respirators are divided into three basic groups based on their filtration efficiency and overall level of protection:

class FFP1
FFP1 respirators only protect against larger dust particles and are often used, for example, on construction sites.
class FFP2
FFP2 respirators protect against finer dust particles and aerosols and can be used as an effective protection against COVID-19 infection.
class FFP3
FFP3 class respirators serve as the most effective protection against bacteria, viruses (thus also against a new type of coronavirus), fungal spores and fine toxic particles.
Respirators with replaceable filters
respirator with replaceable filters
These are more expensive variants of a half mask made of silicone or other plastic materials, which, thanks to replaceable filters, allow reusable use.

Respirators can be used as an effective protection not only in the current coronavirus crisis, but also during normal seasonal influenza or against other infectious diseases.