FAQ Facemasks

Does wearing a face mask prevent COVID?

No, but it does reduce the probability of contracting the disease by up to 80% if you come in contact with an infected person. 

What's the difference between a surgical mask and a KN95 or N95 mask? 

Surgical masks are designed to protect the user against droplets, splashes or sprays of bodily and other harmful fluids where a respirator mask protects the user against fine particles in the air such as areoles. 

What does KN95 mean?

Labels on respirators such as KN95,  N95, FFP2 or N99 refers to the regulatory standards the respirator meets, most countries have their own standard. To learn more please refer to 3M’s in-depth comparison here, https://multimedia.3m.com/mws/media/1791500O/comparison-ffp2-kn95-n95-filtering-facepiece-respirator-classes-tb.pdf

What mask should I be wearing to protect myself and the others around me from COVID 19 and other contagious viruses? 

We encourage all Australians to adhere to the recommendation issued by our government, however respirator style masks provide a greater level of protection for the user against airborne particles which can contain pathogens. 

Should I wear a mask on public transport? 

Currently the Australian government doesn’t recommend the wearing face masks on public transport, however many countries such as the UK and France are encouraging their people to wear masks and some countries have mandated the practice.  

Is it mandatory to wear a mask in public? 

No, some countries have made wearing face masks in public mandatory and have issued infringements to people not adhering to the law. 

Why doesn’t everyone wear a mask?

The World Health Organization (WHO) currently says only two groups of people should wear protective masks, those who are:

  • sick and showing symptoms
  • caring for people suspected to have coronavirus

It says medical masks should be reserved for healthcare workers.

Masks are not generally recommended for the public because:

  • they can be contaminated by other people's coughs and sneezes, or when putting them on or removing them
  • frequent hand-washing and social distancing are more effective
  • they might offer a false sense of security

But that doesn't mean they have no benefit at all for the general public - it's just that the scientific evidence is weak.

There is also a world wide shortage of face masks which may be affecting the WHO recommendations. 

How can we help stop the spread of COVID19?

Practising good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene is the best defence against most viruses. 

You should: 

• wash your hands frequently with soap and water, before and after eating, and after going to the toilet

 • cover your cough and sneeze, dispose of tissues, and use alcohol-based hand sanitiser, and 

• if unwell, avoid contact with others (stay more than 1.5 metres away from people).

Does wearing a mask help prevent the common cold / flu?

Yes, like COVID19 the common cold and flu is a virus which is contagious, wearing a face mask or respirator will reduce your risk of catching the virus. 

Why have the prices of face masks and respirators more than doubled?

Due to the world wide shortage of personal protective equipment including face masks and respirators manufacturers have greatly increased their prices, there are a number of factors at play including; 

 A shortage and huge increase in the price of the fabrics used in mask production, and 

Increased transport costs (traditionally these products are shipped around the world but due to short supply most products are currently being air-freighted which is expensive.