Do FFP2 masks make sense outdoors?


According to experts, jogging, running and hiking are harmless even without a mask. Caution should be exercised in prolonged contact in groups with no minimum distance.

FFP2 masks are not only required in the supermarket, pharmacy or school.  The  white masks can also be found outdoors, for example at outdoor markets. Since last week, local authorities have been able to order an FFP2 mask for other outdoor areas, for example in long queues in front of shops.

While some doubt the sense of wearing the “Filtering Face Pieces” of protection class 2 outside of the health sector from the outset, many people are now also using them outdoors if there are no regulations. Does it make sense?

Experts have long agreed: the risk of corona infection is much higher indoors than in the fresh air. Nevertheless, some people there also pull their FFP2 masks over their noses and mouths.


 The  reason for this is probably the fear of getting caught in a so-called aerosol cloud. This forms in everyone by exhaling in front of the mouth and can contain coronaviruses in infected people. When people talk to each other, these aerosols are practically blown into the face of the conversation partner. While viruses can collect in unventilated rooms, the exhaled air in the open air is quickly diluted and transported away, as the Society for Aerosol Research (GAeF) in Cologne explains.

Jogging and hiking without a mask are harmless


 The  former President of the International Society for Aerosols in Medicine, Gerhard Scheuch, considers a brief encounter with people in the fresh air to be harmless. ©

 The  amount of viruses that you might get off in passing is not enough for an infection, said the advisor to the European Medicines Agency (EMA). “Jogging, running, hiking, walking, I consider that to be absolutely harmless.”


 The  GAeF also gives the all-clear in its position paper: “In the open air there are almost no infections caused by aerosol particles.”

Be careful with a short distance

However, caution should be exercised in groups in which no minimum distances are observed and / or no masks are worn – for example during longer conversations.

So far, for the German Robert Koch Institute (RKI), people who stand together with an infected person for longer than 15 minutes without any protection and less than 1.5 meters apart are considered to be contacts with a “higher risk of infection”.

Moist masks are unusable

On the other hand, wearing a mouth and nose cover for too long can be quite counterproductive: because the moist exhaled air reduces the effectiveness of the FFP2 masks. ©

 The  GAeF warns that the material will lose its electrical charge over time. Not only the German Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) warns: “A moistened mask should be removed and changed.”

According to the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics in Kaiserslautern, there is also the risk of a so-called infection bridge between the wearer and the environment: With moist material, even with FFP2 models, for example, coughing or sneezing could throw droplets from the outer surface of the mask into the environment .

In principle, from the manufacturer’s point of view, FFP2 masks are not intended for reuse. According to experts from the Münster University of Applied Sciences, who have been studying these models for months, masks that have been moistened with breath can also be reprocessed up to five times – by drying them in the air for about a week.

(APA / red.)

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FFP2 masks sense outdoors


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