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Face masks for you and your family

Close up of woman wearing white face mask
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Updated 19th July 2021 - We recommend the coronavirus page on the NHS website for more up to date information.

Face masks and face coverings are a common sight right now, as they're recommended in crowded areas. Plus, face coverings must be worn when travelling on public transport in England.

They're a simple and effective way to help reduce the number of airborne particles getting through to your mouth and nose. 

Making sure you have the right protection is more important than ever. It’s why at LloydsPharmacy we have a range of face coverings and masks, offering different levels of protection depending on your needs.

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What protection can a mask give me?

Different face masks provide different levels of protection, based on the number of filter material layers. The level of filter provided by a mask depends on the size of particles (measured in microns).

There’s also some evidence that face masks help to reduce the respiratory particles you emit when you talk, cough or sneeze for example. This helps to protect those around you.

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How face coverings work: 

Reusable face covering

Reusable face covering icon

  • Helps prevent particles passing through to your mouth or nose
  • Re-washable and reusable
  • More sustainable and cost-effective
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Type II and Type IIR

Type II face mask icon

  • Surgical face masks
  • Filters 98% of larger particles (3 microns in size)
  • Ear loops for comfortable fit
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Face coverings and face masks for kids

If you’re wondering about the right face covering or mask for your child, read on. We’ve got everything you need to know about the types of masks for children.

What type of masks should children wear?

If your child is old enough to wear a face covering and not exempt then they can in certain spaces. For country-specific guidance read our COVID-19 children’s guide. Children should wear face masks that are designed for children as they will be a smaller size offering a close and snug fit that covers their nose, mouth and chin. You’ll want to opt for non-medical and fabric face masks or coverings, unless your child is classed as extremely vulnerable.

How should children wear masks?

Children should follow the same guidance for putting on and taking off a mask as adults. For example, washing their hands before and after touching their mask as well as not sharing it with others. For ease you may want to choose a mask with elasticated ear loops, just make sure it fits comfortably on their face to lesson the chance of them touching it.

Face coverings for adults

Face coverings have become part of our daily lives in a relatively short time. But even if you’ve been wearing a face mask you still might have some questions, that’s where we can help.

What types of adult face masks are available?

We have a whole range of face masks, coverings and shields to help you protect you and those around you. There are reusable face masks which are usually made from fabric that can be worn and washed again and again. These masks are an eco-friendly option and the price-per-wear is lower than other face coverings designed for single use.

Choosing a disposable mask may be more convenient, however they’re designed for one-time use. They need to be thrown in the bin once you’ve worn them, even if you only wore them for a short time. If your mask becomes damp while wearing it you’ll need to put on a new one.

Which are the best types of face masks for adults?

The best type of face mask for adults is one that is breathable and comfortable for you to wear. It also needs to cover your mouth, nose and chin while fitting comfortably on the sides of your face.

If you’re looking for a disposable mask an FFP2 face mask is lightweight, CE marked and contoured to fit your face. There’s also Termin8 washable face coverings in a range of colours which offer a secure and comfortable fit. You can also wear a face covering and a face shield together when you’re out and about.

Do face coverings and face masks work?

Current information suggests that the two main routes of transmission of the COVID-19 virus are respiratory droplets and contact. Respiratory droplets are generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Any person who is in close contact (within one metre) with someone who has respiratory symptoms (coughing, sneezing) is at risk of being exposed to potentially infective respiratory droplets. Droplets may also land on surfaces where the virus could remain viable; thus, the immediate environment of an infected individual can serve as a source of transmission (contact transmission).

How often should you use a face covering mask?

If you are using a disposable face mask you should change your face mask as soon as it becomes moist. A damp mask offers much less protection and should be removed and disposed of carefully. Don’t re-use single-use masks. Remember to wash your hands after removing the mask AND before applying a new one. Find out how to wash and use a reusable mask here

How to put on a face mask

The first thing to remember is hand hygiene. Always wash your hands before and after applying and removing your mask.

Putting them on is easy:

  • Make sure your mask is facing the right way and place it snuggly over your nose and mouth. It should cover your nose and tuck under your chin.
  • Make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask
  • The ear loops simply go behind your ear to keep in place.

Avoid touching the mask while using it, if you do wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitiser

Do face masks expire?

Yes. But they do last for many years if unused. Store in a cool dry place, away from direct sunlight and always check the expiry date before use.

References

www.who.int/publications-detail/advice-on-the-use-of-masks-in-the-community-during-home-care-and-in-healthcare-settings-in-the-context-of-the-novel-coronavirus-(2019-ncov)-outbreak
www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own#when-to-wear-a-face-covering
www.hospitaltimes.co.uk/know-your-mask-flu-respirator-mask-vs-surgical-face-mask/
https://rs-delve.github.io/reports/2020/05/04/face-masks-for-the-general-public.html
www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-children-and-masks-related-to-covid-19
www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19