What is the difference between valved and unvalved masks?

Disposable protective masks offer protection to the wearer against respiratory hazards such as dusts and mists. FFP masks can come with or without valves.

Unvalved face masks can often become sweaty, irritating and claustrophobic for some. Those who wear glasses will find them inconvenient, as they will fog up your glasses with each breath.

The valve is a comfort device. The valve lets air out more easily, which makes breathing more comfortable and regulated. It should also keep the mask less sweaty.  It does not affect or contribute towards the level of protection that the mask offers, but it controls how much air can escape from the mask and how quickly it can do this.

Important /!\ When wearing respirators in sterile or healthcare environments, we advice unvalved masks be worn to prevent any potential cross-contamination. A valved respirator will only protect the wearer because the air exhaled through the valve is likely to contaminate the external environment. An unvalved respirator provides two-way protection: protecting both the wearer and the patient.

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