Dealing with the Coronavirus (2019-nCOV) with face masks

Every major outlet is reporting on the developing “outbreak” of the Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak emanating from Wuhan, China.


The question is, what can be done in the UK?

As of the time of writing of this post, there are no known coronavirus (2019-nCoV) cases in the UK.

But the Chief Medical Officer does anticipate the virus to arrive here and is operating on precaution.

With cases being reported within Europe, it’s a case of managing and mitigating exposure to the virus.


Do face masks protect against the coronavirus?

The opinion at the time of writing is yes and no, so we will try and clarify the position.

The “right” protective masks can help prevent infection and contain the spread of those who have been exposed to the Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).


Do surgical face masks work?

The expert consensus is not really.

Surgical style masks offer a minimal amount of protection and are not advised to be worn as a preventative measure in this instance.


What protective masks are advised for use in the UK?

Speaking with mask manufacturers here in the United Kingdom, their recommendation is to use FFP3 masks for those already infected or suspected of being infected, with (2019-nCoV) coronavirus.

They recommend FFP2 face masks to be used for preventive protection.


What are FFP3 protective masks?

FFP3 face masks protect against higher levels of dust and contaminates in working environments, offering higher levels of protection than FFP2 masks.

FFP3 masks also protect the wearer against solid and liquid aerosols in the air.

These masks are used in hazardous working environments dealing with powders and particles in the air and can be classified as pharmaceutical grade.

These masks are advised to contain the virus if the wearer has been diagnosed or suspected of being exposed to the virus.


What face masks can be used for general protection against coronavirus?

The UK face protection manufacturers are recommending FFP2 protective masks to be used as a precaution for people concerned about contracting the coronavirus (2019-nCoV).


What are FFP2 protective masks?

FFP2 protective masks are designed to offer a moderate level of protection against dust particles in working environments.

They offer a moderate level of protection against airborne aerosols, both solid and liquid.

The FFP2 masks can be used for plastering and sanding jobs.

These masks offer much more protection than the typical surgical style masks you may have seen some people wearing here and in the Far East.


Where can I buy the FFP3 & FFP2 protective masks?

You can source them in many locations in the UK with a quick search online.

As of the time of writing, BHI Supplies Ltd has stock of FFP3 & FFP2 face masks.

Please be aware that there is a risk demand will outstrip supply as the situation develops and cases are confirmed in significant numbers.

If you feel you need protection now, we recommend calling our offices on 01709 527 603, or email [email protected] with your specific requirements.

We will deal with each case as swiftly as we can.

It should be clarified here that respirator masks cannot completely rule out the risk of contracting this particular coronavirus, but they can reduce the risk of infection considerably.


Are these masks easy to wear?

BHI would recommend face fitting training to ensure the correct use and adjustments are made for each wearer.

This is applicable for any business or organisation looking to buy the FFP3 or FFP2 masks in bulk.

It should also be noted that beards, facial hair or facial abnormalities may inhibit the protective masks from functioning correctly.


What should you do if you suspect you have been exposed to the coronavirus?

If there is real concern, medical advice should be sought.

The government will announce updates and the latest information can be found here:

The Chief Medical Officer in the UK will also announce updates regularly.

This situation is evolving and there is a tendency for panic, so it would serve people well to be vigilant but not overreact.


Prevention is better than the cure.

When using public areas, standard hygiene practices should be observed and actioned.

Wash hands thoroughly, and wherever possible use alcohol hand sanitisers.

BHI can provide hand sanitisers, anti-bacterial sprays, coveralls, and face/eye protection.

We can also provide more industrial respiratory face masks and protective PPE.

At this stage, it may be worthwhile having the preventative equipment in situ.

It’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

Call us today on 01709 527 603 to discuss the options to prevent the coronavirus impacting your business, and indeed your lives.


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