Everything you need to know about sanitary masks

man-protects-himself-from-COVID-19-with-surgical-masks

The sanitary masks They are an essential and fundamental part of the entire set of prevention and control measures, to contain the spread of COVID-19, according to public health experts such as the WHO, emergency doctors de Hospitales de Madrid and the independent scientific journal that brings together information from the WHO, CDE and ECDC Cochrane

After controversies, research and speculation, throughout the development of this pandemic, it is specified that masks are essential to contain the spread of this type of Coronavirus. 

Of course, the effectiveness of the masks must be accompanied by other prevention measures such as: 

  • Frequent hand washing with soap and water. 
  • Social distancing of at least 1 to 2 meters between each person. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. 
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow when sneezing or coughing.

surgical-masks-within-the-biosafety-protocol

All these measures are essential to contain this particular type of virus that is COVID-19, since its route of infection is through the microdroplets thrown by the nose and mouth of carriers when they speak, cough or sneeze. 

These microdroplets spread from person to person and, indirectly, by contact with objects infected with them. 

Contemplating this type of contagion, we see why its containment and control has been so complex. Likewise, we understand the importance and usefulness of masks for the two contagion scenarios:

  1. Infected people (symptomatic or asymptomatic) who must contain their nasal and mouth fluids to avoid infecting others, by direct person-to-person contact or by contact with surfaces that have been infected with these small drops. 
  2. Healthy people who need to avoid being infected by protecting the main routes of infection that are nose and mouth. 

Now, it is clear that COVID-19 has a form of contagion that is fast and difficult to control. The concern and need to protect yourself is greater, taking into account the deadly consequences of this virus. 

This type of Coronavirus generates respiratory diseases and its consequences in the human body can be as mild as a nasal congestion, as fatal when they become clinical pictures of septicemia and severe acute respiratory disease. 

In some cases, this virus is even asymptomatic, which facilitates infection by people who consider themselves healthy and relax with the use of masks and the recommended biosafety protocol for everyone. 

As stated by the WHO, the proportion of asymptomatic cases is between 6 and 41%. This proportion could be higher, considering that the tests and consequent isolation care are especially applied to people who go to medical centers with symptoms. 

With so many contagion variables and the obvious difficulty of isolating the total number of infected people, it is clear that the use of masks is an effective mechanism to protect yourself and others. 

Therefore, we gather all the scientific and specialized information so that you know what sanitary masks are, the characteristics that the best ones should have to contain COVID-19, the effectiveness they achieve and the recommendations to choose them correctly. 

One of the main reasons for the difficulty of containing the contagion by COVID-19 are asymptomatic cases, added to the lack of use of sanitary masks.

Let's start by defining… what is a sanitary mask?

medical-staff-wear-surgical-masks

As described by the SEFAP, the surgical mask is considered a medical device (PS). Its usefulness over time (before the current pandemic) has been to protect the community from infections that can be transmitted by the carrier, especially within the medical and hospital environment. 

Particularly in these epidemic conditions, the surgical mask has the function of reducing the risk of spreading the infection or virus, by people who are infected. 

Sanitary masks are not waterproof or reusable, however, depending on their type, they may be anti-fluid. 

For the manufacture and quality control of sanitary masks, current regulations must be taken into account UNE-EN 14683: 2019 AC, which is related to the introduction, marketing and commissioning of medical devices for human use, within the European Union. 

With these regulations it is guaranteed that the surgical mask you choose is made with the necessary requirements for protection, health and comfort, under the following criteria: 

    • Bacterial filtration efficiency. Depending on its type, it must be between ≥ 95 to ≥98 BFE. 
    • Differential pressure. Shown in pascal / mc2 and this indicator ranges from <40 to <60, according to the type of surgical mask. 
    • Splash resistance pressure (applicable only for type IIR). It is measured in kPa and the appropriate index must be ≥16. 
    • Microbial cleaning. It is measured in cfu / g and must be ≤30 for all types. 
    • Biocompatibility. This must adhere to the EN ISO 10993-1: 2009 standard to define the toxicological test to be applied, in order to demonstrate that the surgical mask does not contain or emit substances or particles toxic to humans.
    • Labeling and identification. The label must refer to the standard (UNE-EN 14683: 2019 AC) and the type of surgical mask (I, II, IIR). 

The quality indicators are clearly shown in the table prepared by SEFAP: 

Table-of-requirements-for-each-type-of-surgical-mask-according to-standard-UNE-EN 14683: 2019 AC

For its part, the types of sanitary masks that exist and that you find mentioned in the table are I, II and IIR. This classification is determined by the same standard and is related to the bacterial filtration efficiency (BFE) that each type has. 

In that order of ideas, type I have the lowest BFE and type II have the most. Type IIRs have a BFE equal to Type IIs, however, these also include splash resistance. 

Type I types are not recommended by the standard for use by medical personnel in the operating room or similar medical settings. Also, reference is made to the possibility of needing an EPI-type mask for the use of medical personnel, especially when there are gases from aerosols or processes that emit this type of substances suspended in the air. 

In the case of the virus, EPI masks are only necessary for personnel in direct care of patients in ICU for COVID-19. 

It should be noted that sanitary masks continue to have the same effectiveness as N95 and FFP2 type masks, in the specific case of avoiding the spread of this type of virus, as reaffirmed by the Cochrane organization, in its study that brings together the concepts of WHO (World Health Organization), CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and ECDC (European Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). 

FFP2 and N95 type masks are unnecessary to contain the spread of COVID-19 and are ineffective when they have exhalation valves.

Characteristics of our masks

Now, the type of IIR sanitary masks has been optimized with our Béjar sanitary masks, to provide locally a specialized and more effective offer in the control of COVID-19. 

We are one of the countries with the greatest impact. To date, we have 248 positive cases and more than 28 deaths from this virus. 

In addition, the virus has generated an economic contraction that has affected both companies and employment in Spain. 

In view of these two critical situations, our solution with Béjar sanitary masks arises. A product manufactured in this municipality, with machinery specialized in large-scale production, under the highest quality standards and in accordance with current regulations. 

With our product we not only actively contribute to the containment of the pandemic, we also support our economy and promote local employment. 

For now, we have more than 20.000 families and companies in Spain that take care of themselves with our disposable sanitary masks, and we are aiming to export to support the world in this fight and increase our contribution to the national economy. 

Besides this, you will ask yourself, what is special about Béjar sanitary masks? Well, our product has differentiating characteristics that are involved from the materials with which they are made, to the manufacturing process. 

Its general characteristics are the following: 

  • Flat and rectangular mask. 
  • It is disposable. 
  • It measures 175 x 95 mm.
  • Type IIR with 3 layers of higher BFE and anti-fluids. 

Fabrication process

Masks Béjar It is an adaptation of the final product in our company Fibras Textiles Sanchez SL, which is a benchmark in the country within the textile industry. MAHUPA SL, a corporate group committed to social welfare, is also involved in this project. 

Therefore, in the manufacture of our sanitary masks our infrastructure and specialized machinery meet, with a highly social sense. 

Together, we carry out a focused and organized production so that our product is the best and reaches all companies, professionals from all areas, families and social groups in Spain, especially the most vulnerable such as NGOs, Clinics and hospitals. 

For our manufacturing process we incorporate a specialized machine that allows a daily production of 1 million masks and we add more people to our team, to meet the social and productive objective. 

The production process includes, in addition to specialized machinery, its automated processes and labor, the following materials: 

table-technique-surgical-masks-Béjar

  • Outer layer of non-woven polypropylene fabric, as recommended by WHO and regulations. 
  • Non-woven intermediate layer with 53 grams TNT filter. This exceeds the average for sanitary masks on the market, in which its filter is only 20 grams. 
  • Inner layer of non-woven polypropylene fabric. 
  • Elastic cotton and Lycra 
  • Plastic coated wire. 

The 3 layers of the mask are joined by high precision ultrasonic welding, which achieves firmness and maximum safety, in addition to a homogeneous and resistant piece. 

Our sanitary masks are free of toxic substances such as latex, fiberglass and others that are irritating and harmful to health. This makes them the ones indicated to fight COVID-19. 

In addition, they do not give off annoying and harmful particles and are resistant to humidity from the respiratory air flow. 

Anatomy of Béjar Masks

woman-wears-surgical-masks

Our design is anatomical and every detail is thought about human morphology and the breathing functions that we need to maintain while protecting ourselves. This allows it to be a mask suitable for all ages and facial structures. 

In addition, this includes the plastic coated wire strip, for an ideal fit in the nose area. With this feature the following functions are achieved: 

  • Avoid leaking the microdroplets into the mouth or nose. 
  • Maintain the field of vision, as the mask is anatomically molded to the bridge of the nose. 
  • Greater comfort in use with a soft and precise fit. 

On the other hand, we have the elastic fabric rubbers, with which an effective and delicate lateral support is achieved with the skin on contact. This feature is especially appreciated when you must wear the mask for long periods of time.

What are sanitary masks used for?

Since before the declaration of a COVID-19 pandemic, sanitary masks, in their different types, have been used as a basic sanitary element, both in the health sector and in others where there are risks of contagion by microdroplets, such as in companies, colleges and universities. 

Now, with the presence of this type of Coronavirus, the surgical mask is recommended to prevent the spread of the virus, both by the WHO and by the different government entities and specialists in public health and disease control. 

Effectiveness of sanitary masks

The effectiveness of sanitary masks changes according to the type, as indicated in the table made by SEFAP. According to this, you saw that the GFS can range between ≥ 95 and ≥ 98. 

However, in our Béjar sanitary masks, you find a proven effectiveness greater than 99.7%. 

This is where the explanation lies about why our product exceeds the effectiveness, even, of type IIR masks. This is achieved with its filter characteristics, non-woven material and anti-fluid condition. 

At this point, it should be noted that the effectiveness of our masks, as with all of them in general, depend on their correct use. These are the recommendations that you should take into account: 

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before coming into contact with the mask. Do this by rubbing very well between the fingers and wrist. Failing that, use antibacterial gel for hand disinfection.
  • Take the mask by the rubber bands and check against the light that it has no tears or holes. 
  • Make sure the part of the shaping bar or wire is on top.
  • Once its optimal condition has been verified, it proceeds to hold it by the rubber bands on the ears. 
  • Adjust the shaper bar, so that it is well adhered to the septum or nose. 
  • Avoid touching the surgical mask with your hands. Limit contact with it only to the rubber part. 
  • When removing it, you must take it from the rubber bands and avoid the mask coming into contact with clothing, face or other parts of the body. 
  • Throw the mask in the trash immediately. 
  • Wash your hands again according to the recommendations mentioned at the beginning of this list. 

Finally, keep in mind that sanitary masks, in all their types, must be changed every 4 to 6 hours or sooner if they show any damage, humidity or dirt.

All of the above is vital to ensure that the effectiveness of more than 99% of our masks is that obtained by all. 

Also, keep in mind that its storage should be a place free from extreme temperatures and humidity. 

What should you keep in mind when buying a sanitary mask?

The need for sanitary masks is already evident and openly promulgated by health experts. In addition, we have already told you about the reason why they are the most effective against COVID-19 and the optimized offer that you have in our country with our Béjar product. 

Now, it is important that you know all the factors that masks must meet so that you consider them as your option: 

  • Certified by the UNE-EN14683: 2019 + AC standard. 
  • They should indicate what type they are on the packaging. 
  • They must be made with non-woven fabrics. 
  • The union of the layers must be with methods such as ultrasonic welding, thereby ensuring that there are no perforations. 
  • These should not have perforations of any kind. 
  • It is essential that they have the shaping bar for the part of the nose. 
  • They must specify that they are toxic-free and do not release particles. 

In addition to these conditions, it is always preferable that you choose national products, in order to support the local economy and ensure other advantages such as those that we deliver to you with Béjar sanitary masks

  • Constant and permanent offer. This is sure that at no time you run out of masks available. 
  • Orders in less time, compared to the foreign supply. 
  • We have delivery systems and a specialized customer service team to inform you about your order from the time it leaves the factory until it reaches your door.
  • Lower risk of contagion throughout the import process. 
  • Ease of making 100% the order and purchase process through our site
  • Personalized presentations by product and the packaging (special for companies, clinics and hospitals). 
  • Certified by the regulations of the European Union UNE-EN14683: 2019 + AC and by the Textile Technological Institute (Aitex). 
  • Factory prices throughout the Spanish territory. 
  • VAT-free prices for vulnerable social groups such as clinics, hospitals and NGOs. 

 

Finally, in Mascarillas Béjar you find a company with social commitment, in which we have not only managed to maintain jobs, but we have also expanded them to meet the demand for this product. 

We plan to add 5 more machines for mid-June, in order to increase the production of masks to 18 million units per month.

Thus, we can continue to meet the demand in Spain and meet the international demand, from countries such as Uruguay and Mexico. In turn, this will allow us to generate new jobs in Béjar, the community where our factory is located. 

This is our way of sustaining our company, really contributing to the national economic reactivation and facing the COVID-19 pandemic, letting more people take care of themselves with the right elements. With Béjar sanitary masks we all take care of ourselves. 

Conclusions

Sanitary masks are a basic sanitary element within the protocols and recommendations of experts in public health and disease control. These are effective and indicated, to avoid the risk of contagion by microdroplets, both in companies and groups in the health sector, as well as for ordinary people.

In view of their need and effectiveness to protect you from COVID-19, it is important that you choose the best ones, considering that they comply with current regulations and your particular product and packaging needs.

Also, before choosing yours, you should know that they are divided into 3 main types according to their BFE, which can range between 95% (type I) or 98% (type II and IIR), within the common market offer. Now, there is an improvement in sanitary masks, with our Béjar product, in which additional characteristics are added to the European regulations and a bacterial filtration efficiency of more than 99.7% is achieved. 

In our product you will find a national offer that contributes to the economy and generation of employment in the country, and that outstandingly meets all the characteristics required by the standard.

Being a Spanish-made product, it gives you advantages in price, affordability and shipping logistics, in addition to the possibility of carrying out the entire purchase process online. 

Sources: 

https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/332657/WHO-2019-nCov-IPC_Masks-2020.4-spa.pdf

https://es.cochrane.org/sites/es.cochrane.org/files/public/uploads/COVID-19/hudonostia_mascarillas.pdf

https://www.sefap.org/2020/04/27/mascarillas-que-tipos-existen-y-que-requisitos-deben-cumplir/

https://www.rtve.es/noticias/20200510/medicos-quincena-hospitales-piden-ayuso-reparta-poblacion-mascarillas-quirurgicas-no-ffp2/2013746.shtml

https://factual.afp.com/las-mascarillas-quirurgicas-no-provocan-que-el-usuario-respire-su-propio-co2-segun-expertos

https://www.urgenciasyemergen.com/coronavirus-mascarillas-y-evidencia-cientifica/#Materiales_para_mascarillas_de_tela_segun_la_OMS

https://www.mscbs.gob.es/profesionales/saludPublica/ccayes/alertasActual/nCov-China/documentos/COVID19_Mascarillas_quirurgicas.pdf

https://www.une.org/encuentra-tu-norma/busca-tu-norma/norma/?c=N0062987