Questions and answers about breathing protection

What must be considered when choosing and wearing respiratory protection?

Respiratory protection products are PPE category III products. This means that the products protect against irreparable damage / diseases and death. For products in this category, it is therefore mandatory to provide instructions. These instructions include various points, such as the correct steps to take when putting on and taking off of the respirator.

Both the selection of the suitable respiratory mask and the instruction must be carried out or organized by the employer.

Which respirators protect against the Coronavirus?

According to the Robert Koch Institute, the most important and most effective measures are: "Self-isolation in the event of illness, good hand hygiene, compliance with coughing and sneezing rules and keeping a distance (at least 1.5 meters)".

When dealing with patients, the authorities recommend, among other things, wearing a direct-fitting multi-layer mouth and nose protector. Protection class FFP2 (according to the European standard) or N95 (according to the American standard) is recommended as the minimum protection class for respiratory protection. Masks of protection classes FFP3 or N99 offer higher protection.

Further information can be found directly at the RKI or the WHO.

How does a breathing mask work?

Particle filtering respirators protect against particles, but not against gases and vapors.

The masks usually consist entirely of filter material in several layers and are optionally equipped with an exhalation valve. The different layers serve different purposes such as optics, haptics, dimensional stability, tear resistance and of course filtering.

One of the most important comfort features of respiratory masks is the breathing resistance, i.e. the resistance that the wearer feels when breathing in and out - and that strains him. In order to keep breathing resistance low, the filter material must be air-permeable on the one hand, but also filter the particles on the other hand.

For this reason, the filter material is provided with an electrostatic charge. This ensures that particles that would actually fly through the filter material due to their small size remain attached to the material.

How do the protection classes differ?

The three protection classes are not differentiated according to the size of the filtered particles, but according to their number.

FFP1 filters at least 80 percent of the particles, FFP2 94 percent and FFP3 99 percent.

The more particles that have to be filtered, the more layers of filter material are used - the masks in the higher protection classes become denser and consequently have greater breathing resistance.

Does simple mouth-nose protection protect as well as a respirator that is certified to EN149?

Mouth and nose protection is often referred to as a surgical mask. It is intended to prevent droplets and body fluids from being transferred from the wearer to the environment. However, these masks do not offer sufficient protection for the wearer himself.

Unlike the respiratory protection products according to EN149, it is not personal protective equipment. With our uvex masks, the focus is on protecting the wearer , which is why, for example, the tight fit of the mask plays an extremely important role.

Uvex respirators are able to filter out the smallest particles and droplets from the ambient air and reliably protect the wearer. uvex focuses on the manufacture of personal protective equipment. That is why you will only find respiratory masks in accordance with European standard 149 in our range, no so-called surgical masks.

The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has made a comparison between the mask types.


What is the function of the exhalation valve?

The exhalation valve opens when exhaling and thereby significantly reduces the exhalation resistance, making it more comfortable to wear the mask over a longer period of time. The warm and moist exhaled air quickly comes out of the mask.

When inhaling, the valve closes tightly again and it is inhaled over the material surface. The exhaled air is not filtered, but is released directly into the environment. There is therefore the possibility that droplets of the mask wearer can be released into the environment unfiltered.

How long can breathing masks be used?

Disposable respiratory masks are suitable for one work shift, i.e. a working time of eight hours.

In the case of special activities involving toxic hazardous substances, the masks can only be used once. This means that a mask must be replaced with a new one every time it is removed (for example when working with viruses / bacteria or carcinogenic substances). For hygienic reasons, disposable breathing masks should be worn for a maximum of one day and only by one person.

Can respirators be reprocessed?

Unfortunately, it is not possible to reprocess or decontaminate uvex respirators.

The respirators are made of electrostatically charged filter material (see also: How does a respirator work?). This material can be destroyed by various methods, such as radiation or vapor deposition. The protective function of the mask can no longer be guaranteed.

We therefore advise against reprocessing the masks in any way. They are single-use respirators.

Can uvex respirators be used even after the expiry date?

The filter effect of disposable masks is determined by the electrostatic charge of the filter material.

Since the electrostatic charge slowly decreases, the durability of uvex disposable respirators is limited to 36 months or 60 months (depending on the model). The expiry date is clearly visible on every box.

The masks should no longer be used after this date.

Does uvex provide instructions on how to manufacture a mouth-nose protective mask?

Since uvex does not manufacture simple mouth-nose protection itself, we are unfortunately unable to provide instructions for this.

What happens when a respirator gets wet?

The mask is exposed to various conditions during approval according to EN149. The mask is processed with different temperatures and humidity and must continue to perform the protective functions.

Under normal circumstances, the respirator can withstand a certain amount of moisture. In everyday life, wetness such as rain drops is not a big risk. However, please never submerge the mask under water.

Please also pay attention to the storage conditions and notes in the enclosed instructions for use.

How do I put on a respirator correctly?

The correct fit of respirators is essential to protect the wearer. You will find instructions on how to put on the masks correctly in both the instructions for use and the packaging.

The following videos also serve as instructions:

uvex respirator flat-fold masks

uvex respiratory protection preformed masks

How can you determine whether it is actually a uvex product?

In connection with the COVID-19 pandemic, we unfortunately had to find out that counterfeit products are increasingly being circulated. We therefore advise you to only purchase products directly from uvex or authorized dealers and partners.


You can also pay attention to the following points:

  • Unless otherwise expressly described by uvex, the products are always delivered in uvex packaging.
  • On the uvex respirator mask you will find a print with uvex, the corresponding standards and the CE mark.
  • A uvex instruction manual is included in each packaging.
  • The uvex masks are sold in defined packaging units. Uvex does not sell individual masks.
  • Both the date of manufacture and the expiry date are printed on the packaging.
  • Due to strict quality requirements, it is very unlikely that you will receive products that are no longer packaged, have been incorrectly assembled or that there are misspelled words on the packaging and in the instructions for use.

SIf you have any concerns about any of these points, please contact our sales team:
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How can I order from uvex?

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