Protect yourself against coronavirus: which masks to buy and how to use them

Deconfinement is advancing throughout Spain after more than 2 months of quarantine, but this does not mean that the battle against the coronavirus is over. We will have to live with COVID-19 for a long time, and to do so it is essential to protect ourselves with masks. Still don't know which mask to buy? We will tell you what options are available on the market and how to use them correctly.


The first thing you should know before buying a mask is that there are three types: hygienic or barrier ones, surgical ones and IPE (Individual Protection Equipment). Each has a recommended use for this pandemic depending on the characteristics of the user.

Hygienic or barrier masks are recommended for healthy people. This is a category of mask that the Spanish Government has approved to include all those that are not used by health care personnel. These masks are effective in preventing the user from infecting others, but not in preventing the user from being infected.

The group of hygienic masks would include disposable, reusable and handmade masks. In the latter case, the authorities allow their distribution as long as they are made of authorised materials and in the appropriate manner.

Surgical masks are those used in clinical environments. It is recommended that this type of mask be worn by those who have symptoms or by asymptomatic people who are carriers of the virus.

Surgical masks are divided into type I and II according to Bacterial Filtration Efficiency (BFE). They are usually blue in colour and consist of a filter on one side and a waterproof layer on the other. Remember that the filter must be on the outside when you put on your mask!

IPE masks are the most coveted, as they protect the user from contagion and at the same time prevent him from infecting others. However, they are very difficult to obtain because their use is almost entirely restricted to health professionals. Moreover, they are quite expensive (between 5 and 6 euros). For these reasons, citizens are advised not to use these types of masks except for medical reasons or for people who have someone in their care.

According to the filtering capacity they are divided into FFP1, FFP2, FFP3. They can include filters against particles, which are divided into P1, P2 and P3 depending on their degree of effectiveness. The best known model being marketed in Spain is the KN95, of the FFP2 type.


They may look very easy to use, but you have to take all kinds of precautions when putting them on if you want the masks you have bought to protect you properly. Here are some tips:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly before putting on and taking off your mask.
  • Take the mask only by the rubber ends, both when putting it on and when taking it off. If at any time you need to touch the outside of the mask, wash your hands before doing so. Avoid at all costs inserting your fingers inside the mask or placing it under your jaw.
  • Wear your mask so that your nose, mouth and chin are covered. There should be a small rigid piece at the top which you should pinch to fit your nose.
  • When you throw away the mask, put it in a plastic bag and wash your hands afterwards.

These are some of the main keys to getting into the world of masks, but there's more. Don't hesitate to explore our website for all the information you need to protect yourself and others.