Face masks can be used as a supplement for preventing the spread of infection in situations where it is difficult to keep to distance. It is important that you continue to follow the advice relating to keeping a distance and good hygiene even when you wear a face mask.
There are different types of face barriers. The National Board of Health recommends that you use a CE-marked disposable face mask or a fabric face mask with documented high filtration ability, approved by the Danish standard for washable face masks spaces (DS 3000: 2021).
Disposable face masks
A face mask should be CE-marked and approved as a medical device.
The CE mark shows that the face mask complies with current legislation and that the manufacturer can verify the product’s safety and quality. Disposable face masks approved as medical devices are tested according to industry standards that ensure documentation of degree of filtration and breathability.
Type I face masks have a filtration rate of at least 95%, while type II face masks have a filtration rate of at least 98%. In addition to a degree of filtration of at least 98%, Type II R face masks also have the ability to withstand splashes from liquids. The difference between the three types is important in the healthcare system but does not have a significant importance in public spaces.
Cloth face masks
A cloth face mask should be of good quality and have a documented high degree of filtration. Dansk Standard, together with Forbrugerrådet Tænk, several test laboratories and the Danish health authorities, has prepared a Danish standard for cloth face masks that demands certain requirements for quality, safety and function (DS 3000: 2021).
The Danish standard contains a number of specific requirements for quality, ingredients, function, safety, test methods and labelling which makes it possible for the manufacturers to document the quality and content of the face mask and thereby make it easier for consumers to choose a good cloth face mask.
Manufacturers that follow this standard must, among other things, ensure that the face mask is tested for degree of filtration and is free from harmful ingredients. It must say on the packaging whether the product meets the standard and what the degree of filtration is.
The National Board of Health recommends that you use a cloth face mask that is approved in accordance with the official standard and has a documented high degree of filtration.
There are also reusable cloth face masks that are CE-marked according to the same standard as disposable face masks.
A visor should only be used in situations where face masks can not be used or by people who are not able to wear face masks. For example, due to significant inconveniences or physical conditions, such as the need to be able to read the mouth.
A visor can primarily protect you from drops. It has no filtering effect and does not close tightly around the face, which assumably affects its ability to prevent infection. In the few cases where a visor is used, only full-face masks that cover the entire face should be used.
Industrially manufactured face masks are disposable products, which in general should be disposed of after use. Face masks must always be replaced if they become wet, dirty or are touched, as they can lose their protective effect. It is recommended that you do to wash disposable face masks in order to reuse them. When a face mask is washed it affects its filtering property and its breathability, so that the face mask will not provide the same level of protection.
Wear a face mask in public areas and dispose of as ordinary waste. After disposing of a face mask, you must wash your hands or disinfect your hands using hand sanitiser.
If you wear glasses, you may find that condensation forms when you wear a face mask. It may irritate you and impede your vision, and it can increase the risk of infection from contact if you repeatedly touch your glasses. We therefore provide here some good advice for how you can prevent condensation forming on your glasses.
- Ensure that you choose a face mask that fits completely tightly around your nose and mouth, e.g. a face mask with a metal strip, which can be pinched around the nose.
- Place the face mask as close to your eyes as possible and wear your glasses a little bit lower down on your nose.
- Clean your glasses with warm water and a couple of drops of detergent every morning and evening. Soap reduces the risk of condensation forming on your glasses.
- Dry your glasses using a microfibre cloth.
If a child is to use a face mask, it is important that the child understands how to wear it correctly. It is important that the face mask is not overly loose on the child’s face and that the child can take the face mask off and put it on. Children of school age typically can do this.
You can help toddlers, who cannot use face masks by keeping their hands clean and paying attention to any signs of COVID-19 symptoms.