Use masks correctly
There may be situations in which masks are of value, for example where it is difficult to avoid crowds and close contact for long periods. When you are traveling, there may be requirements for masks, for example at airports and onboard aircraft.
If you choose to wear a mask, it is important to use the right type of mask and that it is used correctly.
Various forms of protective coverings for the nose and mouth are available on the market. The protective coverings that have been tested to maintain a defined level of protection are surgical face masks and respiratory protection masks. The regulations for these various products differ. You can read more about which regulations apply on the Swedish Medical Products Agency website.
Surgical face masks qualify as medical devices and must have what is known as a CE quality mark. The packaging must also have instructions for use with information in Swedish.
How surgical face masks work
- The purpose of the mask is to reduce the spread of infectious particles from the wearer to the surroundings.
- They should always be used in accordance with the instructions provided to ensure they function properly and provide the right protection.
- Surgical face masks are usually for single use and not made to be put on and taken off several times.
- They are usually blue-white, pleated and fastened with loops around the ears.
- Wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling the mask.
- Do not share masks with anyone else.
Respiratory protection masks
Respiratory protection masks are designed to protect the wearer. These masks have a CE mark with four digits next to it and are labelled FFP1, FFP2 or FFP3. Respiratory protection masks qualify as personal protective equipment.
Many EU countries recommend or require the general use of a protective covering that covers the nose and mouth. Masks that are not CE-marked as medical devices or personal protective equipment are common. They are often made from fabric or synthetic materials but can also be similar to medical face masks made from paper-like material. They may in some cases be recommended for general use. Unlike other countries, Sweden has no specific product rules for this type of mask.
A complement to other recommendations
The use of face masks is nationally recommended in public transport during rush hours, that is 0700–0900 and 1600–1800 on weekdays. In some regions, there are special recommendations about when to use masks. The Public Health Agency ("Folkhälsomyndigheten") states that masks must always be viewed as a complement to, and not a replacement of, the other measures to reduce the risk of infection:
- Stay at home if you have symptoms.
- Maintain good hand hygiene.
- Maintain a physical distance from others both outdoors and indoors.