The No.1 thing to look out for when buying masks
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The number one thing to look out for when buying masks

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recently advised elderly and at-risk groups to wear medical grade surgical masks when they go out. What exactly are medical grade surgical masks, and how are they different from other types of face masks? How do we tell the difference between medical and non-medical grade face masks when purchasing them online or at shops?


The number one thing to look at is…….

The Quality Certificate that comes in the package. Masks, like all other medical products, are governed by standards. The standard that the mask conforms to will be stated on the certificate.



Look out for the standard (circled above in black). Medical grade surgical masks with BFE ≥ 95% have YY 0469 (Chinese Standard), YY/T 0969 (Chinese Standard) or EN 14683 Type I, II or IIR (EU Standard).


Masks that may also look like surgical masks, but are not medical grade, mostly have GB/T 32610 (Chinese Standard), or no certificate in the packaging at all.

BFE? What does it mean and why should I care?

Bacterial Filtration Efficiency (BFE) is a measure of a material’s resistance to penetration by bacteria. Medical grade surgical masks with standards YY 0469, YY/T 0969 or EN 14683 Type I, II or IIR have a BFE of 95%. Face masks that do not conform to these standards, such as masks labelled with GB/T 32610 or unlabelled masks, are not required to undergo BFE tests.

Which is the best medical grade face mask?

Only YY 0469 and EN 14683 Type IIR have a BFE of 98% and splash resistance. This is especially important because droplets are the primary form of transmission of COVID-19.


Sterile or non-sterile masks?

Only sterile masks are treated with ethylene oxide, which kills various microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses. If the mask is packaged in sterile packaging (see picture below), it is likely that the mask is sterile.

But, wearing masks in hot weather is so uncomfortable….

Surgical masks are highly breathable while maintaining a high BFE because the middle filtering layer has been electretised to achieve a high filtration efficiency while maintaining good breathability. Thus, surgical masks are especially suitable for those who have to wear masks for long duration, such as hairstylists, food delivery riders, and students at school.


Who should use medical grade surgical masks?

It is compulsory for everyone in public settings to wear masks. We recommend surgical masks especially if you:

  • take public transport
  • work in an environment that requires regular contact with people, such as essential services staff
  • live with at-risk people such as elderly
  • work in environments that involve fire, such as kitchens or food courts, as only medical grade surgical masks have flame resistance


The table below compares the different types of masks.


Get it from us now to protect your loved one! You may purchase it at:

1. Q & M clinics (

2. Lazada (

3. Shopee (




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