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what is a p2 mask

What is a P2 Mask?

, by AussiePharmaDirect, 7 min reading time

There's a lot of confusion over what is a P2, N95, KN95, the types of filters within those, why a surgical and fabric masks do not offer respiratory protection. So which face mask is the best to protect ourselves and each other against Covid-19. Here's what you need to know.

If you think all face masks are the same, then think again, says Daniel Seldon, managing director of Aussie Pharma Direct.

There’s a distinct difference between a surgical or cloth mask and a fitted P2 or N95 face mask,” he says. “Surgical and cloth masks provide a barrier to splashes, droplets and spittle, but do not filter small particles (such as COVID) from the air. Whilst they offer some respiratory protection, they do not offer the same level of filtration as a P2 face mask, and because they are not fitted, they allow air to escape and enter around the top and sides. As the Coronavirus is airborne, a surgical or cloth mask does not offer sufficient protection.”

Standard surgical masks and some other P2 face masks are made from melt-blown filters which use static electricity to capture dust and particles, however, once they get moist from breathing, the filtering efficiency drops dramatically.

“The medical community concur that the virus is airborne, and the Delta strain is far more contagious than the first generation of COVID-19, yet people are still wearing insufficient surgical and cloth masks. P2 is the Australian standard (equivalent to the US N95 standard), however, more than half of the imported N95 masks have been found to be either faulty or fake,” says Seldon.


What is a P2 / N95 Mask? 

Disposable P2 or N95 face masks (also known as P2 or N95 respirators) are able to filter out very fine particles from the air when worn correctly. They are designed to seal over the bridge of the nose and mouth, so there are no gaps between the mask and the face. 

Surgical masks are designed to protect the wearer from droplets or splashes and large particles. Whilst they offer some respiratory protection, they so not offer the filtration like that of a P2 face mask and  because they are not fitted, they allow air to escape and enter around the top and sides. As the Coronavirus is airborne, a surgical mask does not offer sufficient protection.

The Australian manufactured AMD P2 Nano-Tech Respirator is like a personal air purifier made from four layers of extremely fine nano-fibres that filter out 99.66% of airborne particles. The densely tangled nanostructure of the filter allows a single mask to be worn comfortably for up to 24 hours, offering long lasting protection, and excellent breathability. Because of the nanotechnology used to make them, it is much easier to breathe in and out and the filter will still function if it does become damp especially from the breath, unlike a traditional P2 mask with a melt-blown filter. 

P2, N95, KN95, FFP2 are equivalent certifications

All of these need to meet certain criteria for a respirator. They are certifications from equivalent governing bodies in different regions.

Equivalent Product Type - Jurisdiction Relevant Standard Class:

  • Australia & NZ - P2 - AS/NZS 1716:2012;
  • Europe - FFP2 - EN 149-2001 FFP2
  • USA - N95 - NIOSH-42CFR84 N95
  • China - KN95 - GB 2626:2019 KN95

P2 face masks with the valve is not recommended

A P2 face mask with a valve might seem like a good idea as it allows you to breathe out more easily and stops moisture build up, but if you are infected, you can still breath out the virus and transmit it to other people.

The beauty of the AMD P2 mask is that it still functions whilst damp and allows you to breathe more normally. Unlike P2 face masks with a meltblown filter which lose efficacy when they become damp.

Muriel Dayde from Frenchies restaurant is a fan 

Like everyone working in hospitality, we have had to change to a social distancing / takeaway model of operation, and need to ensure everyone stays safe,” says Dayde, manager of Frenchies. “We have been wearing the AMD P2 face masks since the start of the pandemic and have remained healthy throughout and have been able to keep the business open thanks to the peace of mind protection these masks provide.”

Overseas traveller dodges a bullet 

Seldon recently gave some AMD P2 respirators (masks) to a business contact who was flying to the UK who discovered someone on board his plane had COVID. 

“Even though four people sitting around him caught the virus, he didn’t, as he was wearing the AMD P2 face mask,” says Seldon. “Stories such as this make me really proud to be doing my bit to help protect people from the coronavirus.”

How to wear a P2 Face Mask

Before putting on a face mask, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or a hand sanitiser like ViroCLEAR. Take care to not touch the inner layer that will be in contact with your nose and mouth. 

Ensure the nose bridge strip is at the top. Unfold the mask while holding onto the edges and position it over your nose and mouth. Place one ear loop over each ear and pull it under your chin. Mould the nose bridge to your nose and you’re set.

Your mask should not allow air to escape around the sides, top or bottom. If it does, then tie some loops in each ear loop or use a Mask Extender to tighten the seal.

How to safely remove a P2 Face Mask 

Wash hands with soap and water or hand sanitiser before removing your mask. Unhook the ear loops, taking care not to touch the front of the mask which might have become contaminated. Throw it in the bin and wash or sanitise your hands again. 


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