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FFP3 Respirator masks FAQs

FFP3 Face Mask - FFP3 respirator masks

FFP3 Respirator masks FAQs

When should staff be required to wear FFP3 respirator masks during the care of COVID-19 patients? FFP3 Respirator masks FAQs.

FFP3 respirator masks are only required during Aerosol Generating Procedures (AGP) as these can lead

to exposure to aerosol viral particles. There is a particular risk of aerosols in high-risk units such as ICU, so you should always wear a mask in these units.

Are FFP3 masks necessary when treating a ventilated patient?
Yes, in case of disconnection.

Do masks need changing in the same fashion as aprons and gloves when moving between patients in the same cohort?

If the seal remains intact for an hour (check manufacturers guidelines) then a mask can be worn between patients in one intensive care or high dependency unit.


How long can someone wear an FFP3 mask?

They should remain effective for at least an hour if the seal is intact. Check manufacturer’s guidelines for maximum length. Masks may be compromised if damp with respiration or bodily fluids.

What do we do when we’re running short of masks?

Staff should not enter at-risk areas unless absolutely necessary and only staff involved in direct care should wear face masks. Since masks do not need to be changed as often as aprons and gloves, they can be worn for prolonged periods of time.

What do we do when we don’t have access to masks but are managing asymptomatic patients?

Masks are only needed during Aerosol Generating Procedures and with COVID-19 patients in high-risk units. You must also implement training to ensure that staff are aware as to how to correctly use masks.


How are FFP3 respirator masks different to other masks?

FFP3 mask supplies stored in case of pandemic flu have been repurposed to help deal with increased PPE Equipment demands due to COVID-19. These masks look different to the usual supply but they offer the same level of protection.

How do we manage extreme demand for Fit Testing?

RPA is an independent fit testing company that PHE has commissioned to offer support and testing for staff in high-risk areas using FFP3 respirator masks. Call 07947 968972 or 07947 968922 for RPA’s helpline.

Why do I have to repeat the Fit Test with every mask?

As each model is slightly different in with regard to its fit to an individual’s face, it is important that you check every time that a new mask fits effectively.

Do I need to be “Fit tested” again if I was “Fit tested” for the 2009 model of mask?

It depends upon whether your face is the same shape as it was in 2009. Dental surgery, changes in weight or new scars or moles could prevent a mask from working effectively. If in doubt, fit test again.

Why do some FFP3 respirator masks appear to be out of date/have altered expiration dates?

Expiration dates do not reflect the stringent tests that all masks must undergo, including exposure to the most extreme of conditions. Any mask that shows unacceptable signs of deterioration in testing is destroyed.

Why has the guidance on fluid repellent surgical masks (FRSM) changed?

Guidance has been changed to ensure that the right equipment is used to minimise transmission risk. Evidence suggests that Fluid Repellent Type iir mask or Surgical Masks are adequate to prevent COVID-19 being transmitted via respiratory droplets.

This information meets NHS Guidelines

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