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Mask requirement and DIY mouth covering: you need to know about corona masks


Protection against the coronavirus and a disease with Covid-19 is very important these weeks. You can read everything you need to know about breathing masks and self-made mouthgear here.

Protection against the coronavirus and a disease with Covid-19 is very important these weeks. You can read everything you need to know about breathing masks and self-made mouthgear here.

• In Germany, a mask requirement to combat the corona virus is being discussed

• There are already corresponding regulations in Austria and Jena

• Not all masks offer full protection - but do-it-yourself is allowed

What masks are there?

Certified protective masks

A simple face covering is not enough for caregivers or other situations in which people have contact with infected or suspected cases of Covid-19 . For example, for use in hospitals so that staff is not infected, there are masks with FFP protection levels . FFP stands for "filtering facepiece", the requirements for such masks are regulated in the European standard 149.

Masks with protection level FFP-2 are actually disposable items . However, due to the current scarcity, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) recommends using the masks several times if possible. This should only happen if certain precautionary measures are observed, reports *.

FFP-3 masks have the highest protection level. They are also said to protect against cancer and radioactive particles. Due to their dense filter, the wearer has difficulty breathing, they can only be worn for short periods.

According to current knowledge, masks with FFP-1 classification do not protect against the corona virus .

Professionally made mouth-nose masks

Because of the acute scarcity of certified protective masks, the RKI announced that "in the general treatment and care of patients with non-specific acute respiratory infections", mouth-nose masks are sufficient in the current emergency situation. However, both sick and suspected cases as well as treating or caring people should wear such a mask. According to a definition by the RKI, mouth-nose masks should be multi-layered and close-fitting. Although these masks cannot protect the wearer from the corona virus and other viruses, they can catch the droplets of the wearer and thus reduce the risk of the viruses being passed on.

Self-made makeshift masks against the corona virus

Simple masks can be sewn from fabric at home by hand or by machine. Fleece is particularly recommended as a material, at most the fabric should be washable at 60 degrees so that the virus can be killed during washing and the mask can be reused.


Making mouthgear is allowed. It is important to point out the less effective protective effect of the masks.

© picture alliance / dpa

But: Such makeshift masks offer the wearer no protection against infection with viruses. However, you can catch droplets from speaking, coughing or sneezing and thus protect other people from a corona infection. Many experts, such as virologist Christian Drosten , therefore advocate wearing such masks in public. You can also remind the wearer not to touch themselves so often. Hygiene measures such as washing hands or keeping a distance should not be neglected despite the mask.

Professional and self-made mouth-nose masks cannot be used in direct medical contact with corona patients , but they can help to reduce the need for certified protective masks. In addition to private use, they can, for example, be carried in the hospital by technical, administrative, kitchen and laboratory staff, as well as external staff from outside companies and contribute to third-party protection.

Regulations in Bremen and Lower Saxony

In Bremen and Lower Saxony there is currently no obligation to wear a face mask or mask . The head of the Corona crisis team in Lower Saxony, Heiger Scholz (SPD), found clear words against the demands for certified masks: "Anyone who now propagates that everyone should be running around with a qualified mask is putting health care in this country at risk." Bremen Mayor Andreas Bovenschulte (SPD) announced at least that those responsible are considering a mouth protection obligation in nursing.

Mask production in Bremen and Lower Saxony

Due to the high demand for Corona protective masks , some well-known companies in Germany have already switched their production to makeshift masks , such as the automotive supplier ZF Friedrichshafen or the clothing company Trigema .

In Lower Saxony, Arwed Löske from Hildesheim, which actually produces packaging for coffee and vacuum cleaner bags , is now also producing makeshift masks.

According to the Lower Saxony Ministry of Justice, prisoners from Lower Saxony are also involved in the manufacture of mouth-nose masks . The correctional facility for women in Vechta and the JVA Uelzen have set up sewing factories. The Sehnde prison should be able to take over the hygiene conditions for cleaning and disinfecting the masks through its certified laundry.

After the Becks brewery and the schnapps distillery Piekfeine Bräne have already devoted themselves to the production of disinfectants, only the tailors of the State Theater and the City Theater in Bremerhaven have so far switched their costumes to face-to-face masks. Bremen's Goldschlägerei Bego is considering producing protective masks using 3D printing.

In both federal states, local associations of rural women support the production of makeshift masks following a call from the federal association. As in the whole of Germany, numerous private individuals and self-employed make mouth-nose masks in Bremen and Lower Saxony.

Sew makeshift masks yourself: what should be considered?

You should pay attention to this:

• The fabric should be washable at 60 degrees so that the virus can be killed during washing and the mask can be reused

• Fleece or cotton are best suited

• The mask should fit snugly when worn

• Makeshift masks do not provide protection for the wearer

• But they catch droplets and contribute to external protection

But be careful : Companies or individuals who are now making mouth-to-face masks out of necessity or willingness to help must be careful not to receive mail from warning lawyers . In order to sell or donate the products without any problems, you should pay particular attention to the correct name.

Since the self-made masks do not have any protection certification, they violate product-specific labeling obligations according to the Medical Devices Act (MPG) and the misleading ban according to paragraph 4 paragraph 2 of the MPG if they are offered with the word "protection". Lawyers therefore advise to use terms such as mouth covering, mouth-nose mask or makeshift mask.

By Thomas Ferstl

* is part of the nationwide Ippen digital editorial network

Rubric list picture: © picture alliance / dpa

Source: merkur

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