Type IIR masks: why should we use them?

Emanuele Mortarotti in
05 November 2020

This week we are going to talk about the IIR type masks and why it is necessary to use them, according to the World Health Organization (WHO)

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Welcome back to Dispotech’s blog! This week we are going to talk about the IIR type masks and why it is necessary to use them, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In order to do this and provide more details regarding this personal protective equipment, we will refer to an article posted on news.phoenixmd.co.uk.


According to the WHO, as the Covid-19 pandemic progresses alarmingly, the use of masks will be indispensable in workplaces, public transport and so on. Obviously healthcare professionals must wear masks - particularly those of one type, i.e. IIR types - when in contact with patients.


But what are these masks characteristics? IIR type masks are also known as surgical masks. To be used, they first need ASTM certification, which certifies that the masks prevent potentially infectious droplets from coming into contact with the nose/mouth of the wearer. Some tests are also conducted to certify the filtering capacity of the mask when breathing from the inside out.


Other characteristics of the IIR masks are the presence of elastic bands to be positioned and adjusted behind the ears, the presence of three protective layers, the presence of a layer resistant to accidental contact with body fluids.


In light of the above, what are the main differences between an IIR type mask and other masks on the market?


Although Type I and Type II masks also require ASTM certification, they are not classified as “surgical”, they provide less protection from infection and do not protect against splashes of body fluids.


Personal protection for the individual is even less if we talk about the famous "fashion masks" or do-it-yourself masks, i.e. masks made of unsuitable fabrics, often porous and therefore unable to retain dangerous droplets.


In conclusion, here are some tips for wearing a mask with the certainty of being well protected.


  • Make sure your hands are always clean when putting on, removing or touching the mask.
  • When you have to put on or remove the mask, do so by holding the elastic bands that rest on your ears and never by touching the front part of it.
  • Your mask must be the right size and fit perfectly to your face: it must be neither too big nor too small.
  • Try not to touch the mask while wearing it.
  • Replace your personal mask approximately every 4 hours.


Did you know these details about IIR type masks? What do you think about this article? Have your say, by contacting Dispotech.

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