FFP2 respirators will soon become mandatory indoors. Here's how you should prepare

Learn more about what you should watch for when purchasing a respirator, how long to use it and how to dispose of it.

Wearing FFP2 respirators will be mandatory indoors.Wearing FFP2 respirators will be mandatory indoors. (Source: SME)

Wearing FFP2 respirators became mandatory on public transport and in shops on Monday, March 8.

Starting on March 15, they will also be mandatory indoors.

Here are some tips on what kind of respirators you should wear, how long to use them and how to dispose of them once they can no longer be used, as recommended by the Public Health Authority (ÚVZ).

What kind of respirator should you buy?

You should not wear facepiece respirators with an exhalation valve, as there is a risk the virus could be exhaled into your environment.

New rules came into force, but ordinance published late Read more 

The respirator should be labelled as FFP2. It should also contain the EN 149 + A1 (European technical norm) and CE marks, followed by a four-digit number (the number identifies who issued a certification for the respirator), and should be printed directly on the respirator.

The facepiece respirators should be sold with zero VAT (in order to decrease their price and increase accessibility) until the end of April.

While the ÚVZ claims KN95 and N95 respirators are also acceptable, the Slovak Office of Standards, Metrology and Testing said that the KN95 respirators are designed mostly for the Asian market and have a slightly different shape. Thus it recommends wearing them only as an alternative to cloth masks.

If the respirators labelled KN95 contain European labels (EN 149 + A1 plus CE and the four-digit number), it means they have passed the EU norms. These labels should be printed directly on the respirator.

How the respirators should be used

The FFP2 respirators should cover the mouth and nose. You should put them on with clean hands and avoid touching the inside parts. The clip on the top should be adjusted to the shape of your nose.

FFP2 respirators are usually meant for single use. You can use one repeatedly if you put it on and took it off using strings and wore it for several minutes, rather than hours. Respirators labelled FFP2 R can be used repeatedly.

Unless the producer says differently, one can be used for no more than eight hours in total.

Retail chains are trying to ensure adequate supply of FFP2 respirators Read more 

Do not use damp, damaged or dirty respirators or respirators used by someone else.

If you want to use a respirator again, make sure you follow these rules:

  • hang the FFP2 respirators in a designated area or in a clean and air-permeable container, like a paper sack;
  • use the dry and clean respirators three to five days apart to minimise the risk of contamination;
  • do not let your respirator touch someone else’s respirator.

The containers should be regularly disinfected or thrown away, and they should not deform the respirator’s shape.

For disinfection, follow the producer’s instructions. It is not recommended to wash or boil the respirator, or to bake it in the oven or microwave. The best way is to let the respirator dry in a controlled environment and use it at spaced-out time intervals.

How to dispose of the respirators

If you wear an FFP2 respirator in places with a high number and frequency of people, it is recommended not to use it again.

Respirators should be thrown into the municipal waste, in plastic waste bags. They do not need to be disposed of in containers for separated waste.

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