A respirator protects the person wearing one against viruses and bacteria.
Respirators differ in their designation. Specifically, FFP2 (CN 95) and FFP3 (CN 99).
The abbreviation FFP is based on the English term "filtering facepiece", the number after this designation indicates the degree of protection, respectively the degree of permeability of respirators according to the European standard:
Class FFP2 (KN95) respirators must capture at least 94% of the airborne particles. For the FFP3 class respirator (KN99) it is 99%.
Respirator with an exhalation valve
Respirators with an exhalation valve protect only their wearers from viruses and bacteria from external environments. When the person wearing a respirator with an exhalation valve exhales, it is not filtered in any way. Therefore, these respirators are not to be worn by people who are infected by COVID-19.
Face masks protect well against the spread of droplets exhaled by the wearer of the mask (it stops the droplets coming from the inside of one's body from getting outside the body) Therefore, the face masks help to protect the others – this is why we use the motto "my face mask protects you, your face mask protects me".
When you wear a face mask you also protect yourself. The protection is not as sufficient as it would be by wearing a respirator, however, the level of protection is definitely higher while using a face mask than with no face covering at all. At least this offers partial protection against droplets exhaled by other people. It also helps you to avoid touching your face directly.
Masks are either disposable (also known as medical or surgical), or nano masks that can be used repeatedly.
Protective face shield
Please use a face shield only as an extra protection in combination with a face mask or a respirator. The face shield itself is not classified as effective protection. These are used especially in medical facilities or wherever an extra protection is needed. Wearing a face shield helps to cover a larger part of your face.