In a world where the need to build your personal hygiene arsenal is increasingly important, most of us feel underprepared and overwhelmed and it is sometimes difficult to separate fact from fiction.
When it comes to face masks, this confusion is further worsened by the tsunami of contradicting information, beamed right to the palm of our hands every day.
To better understand the differences between face masks when it comes to germ protection, we consulted local hygiene experts.
We sat down with James Michael Lafferty, the C.E.O. of Fine Hygienic Holding - a regional hygiene powerhouse offering sterilised products to millions of consumers in more than 75 global markets. Most recognisable for their sterilised tissues, which they confirm are rendered almost 100 percent germ-free via their patented U.V. sterilisation process, Fine recently launched their own line of N95 face masks, dubbed Fine Guard.
Can face masks protect us?
“It’s quite straight forward; like most communicable pathogens, COVID-19 can infect us by entering our nose or mouth, which are the most vulnerable gateways into our body. Therefore, applying any sort of filter over these parts, can bring added protection” says James.
However, not all face masks necessarily offer the same protection.
According to James, “the problem with some face masks is that they don’t filter viruses very well, because viruses are too small and slip through.”
“Even when it comes to the N95 face mask, which is considered by most as the best ‘off-the-shelf’ respiratory protection. N95 means that it filters only 95 per cent of the particles in the air” he continues.
What about the remaining 5 per cent?
James describes Fine’s new product as an N95 mask on steroids. “The idea was to create a mask that filters viruses and if they do slip through, it kills them.” The masks are self-sterilising, killing germs on contact with the fabric and stopping them from being inhaled.
“There’s a company in Switzerland that came up with a technology called Livinguard. If germs touch a surface that has Livinguard on it, they die. It not only stops viruses once, but it keeps killing them for days, hours and months, because of the way the chemistry is structured. That’s why all Fine Guard masks are treated with Livinguard, to offer our communities robust protection”
James explained that Livinguard is a patented Swiss technology that destroys bacteria mechanically. “Every single bacterium in the world has a positive charge – it’s not a neutral charge. Livinguard is a substance that is sprayed on a surface and contains 24 billion negatively charged ions. When the virus comes into contact with that, there is an exchange of positive and negative ions and the cell wall collapses. It does this through mechanical means, without the use of toxic chemical disinfectants, found in most household cleaning products.”
He also says that the mask is simple to maintain and wash, making it reusable; “The Livinguard technology is strongly bonded to the fabric so it’s at full strength for up to 30 washes, which means that you don’t have to throw it away after daily use. This makes it much more sustainable for the environment too.”
Light on the environment and your wallet
“We need to be thinking about the earth, and disposable masks need to be thrown away daily. We are filling up the planet with used masks that don’t degrade very quickly. You can use our masks repeatedly and you don’t have to keep throwing them away,” says James.
That is not only more sustainable for the environment, but also for your pocket.
“The mask costs from Dhs99 and is a cost-effective alternative to daily disposables. The Livinguard protection can last for as long as 240 days, which means you can buy one Fine Guard mask instead of 240 daily-disposable masks.” says James. “Lots of companies are buying our masks because they do the math and they say, if I have 5,000 workers and I buy 5,000 Fine Guard masks, I’m taken care of for the next year. I have had multiple companies tell me that we have saved them a lot of money.” he continues.
So do face masks really protect you?
Well, according to the hygiene experts at Fine, most masks offer some level of respiratory protection, but some more than others. Therefore, for any reason, if you need to venture out in such uncertain times, or just want an extra layer of protection, mask-up and be safe.
To learn more about the Fine Guard Mask visit.