Mouth masks or face masks can basically be divided into three mask types: Hygiene and breathing masks as well as community masks.
Loose fitting hygiene or oronasal protection masks according to testing standard EN 14683 prevent people from contaminating their surroundings with exhaled droplets. The wearer himself is thus only protected to a limited extent, as the mask does not provide adequate protection against aerosols (fine droplets carried in the air). Since mouth-nose masks do not fit tightly, it is easy to breathe with them. Hygiene masks are available in different protection levels or classifications.
- Type I: The filter capacity is at least 95%.
- Type II: The filter capacity is at least 98%.
The classifications of Type II with "R" mean a higher resistance to liquids and aerosols.
Tight-fitting FFP masks (Filtering Face Piece) in accordance with test standard EN 149 reliably protect the wearer against viruses. These respiratory masks filter even the smallest particles and aerosols from the air. Masks with exhalation valve offer greater wearing comfort. Respirators without an exhalation valve also prevent the wearer from contaminating his or her surroundings with exhaled droplets. FFP masks are available in various protection levels or classifications.
- FFP1: The permissible total leakage (leakage) is a maximum of 22% and at least 80% of the pollutants are filtered from the air
- FFP2: The permissible total leakage (leakage) is a maximum of 8% and at least 94% of the pollutants are filtered from the air
- FFP3: The permissible total leakage (leakage) is a maximum of 2% and at least 99% of the pollutants are filtered from the air
Community masks for home use. A protective effect is usually not proven. Wearing a community mask can reduce the speed of respiratory flow or saliva/mucus droplet ejection. The masks can also support the awareness of "social distancing" as well as a health-related and mindful approach to oneself and one's surroundings.