4 Types of Face Masks to Protect Against COVID-19
The world we know has become entirely different. Coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the disease of covid-19, has changed our entire lives. Covid-19 is one of the most significant viral transmitted diseases.
Covid-19 is highly contagious at the early stages of developing the symptoms, but according to the world health organization (WHO), it can be infectious even before any symptoms start to form. That’s why prevention is so important.
Amid social distancing and washing your hands, you should avoid touching your face as well-even if wearing face masks. The CDC advises people to wear masks in public settings, like on public transportation, gatherings, and anywhere where they will be near other people.
Face masks are one way you get to protect yourself from others or protect others from yourself. But with so many businesses selling so many different types of face masks. How to know which one to buy? Which type of masks can protect you from Covid-19?
Benefits of Wearing a Face Mask
- Prevents you from spreading the virus by a staggering 95%
- Reduces the chances of you contracting the virus or other harmful diseases
- Protects you from pollution
- Gives you a feeling of control when you have to go outside
- Protects you from harmful toxins
What Types of Face Masks Are Available?
There are many different types of face masks available, so it can be a little overwhelming, to say the least, to pick the right mask that suits your needs the best while protecting you from coronavirus.
Surgical Face Masks (3 Layer)
The disposable surgical masks are probably one of the most well-known types of face masks. This kind of mask is used mostly by most doctors and nurses. The FDA approves these face masks for medical use.
They are designed to stop you from spreading germs or viruses to other people. But they can also support you by lessening the chance of you getting infected with the coronavirus.
Disposable surgical face masks are specially designed; they are not made using paper or cloth. They are made mostly of polypropylene, a form of plastic as a fiber polypropylene is a solid material.
Surgical face masks are made out of three individual layers:
- The outside layer repels body fluids.
- The middle layer purifies some pathogens.
- The internal layer absorbs moisture from exhaled air
Surgical face masks are single use, and these face masks do not have external ventilators like some N95 masks, but filter airborne particle very effectively. Once moist, which generally can take only a couple of hours, they should be thrown out.
Surgical Face Mask Pros:
- They are comfortable
- Not very expensive
- Reduces the chances of getting infected by harmful diseases
- Protects others from getting infected by you
Surgical Face Mask Cons:
Doesn’t have a an external ventilator filtration system
Not reusable or long-lasting (should be disposed of when moist)
N95 Face Masks
N95, as the name mentions, prevents 95% of the airborne particles according to the CDS. These masks are supposed to fit your face perfectly.
They are used to protect workers from highly contagious diseases such as tuberculosis. N95 respirators are also used to protect painters and jobs who are linked to toxic materials.
N95 face masks are considered very helpful in the prevention of spreading and contracting contagious diseases. But further studies are required to confirm this.
N95 Face Mask Pros:
Filters 95% of the airborne particles
Tight-Fitting relative to other masks. N95 masks typically come with a two strap design that keeps the face mask from having gaps where air can pass through around the edges of the mask.
Protects from viruses, contagious diseases, and inhalation of toxic chemicals
N95 Face Mask Cons:
- They are difficult to find and secure. With increased demand and limited numbers of real manufacturers shortages have become the norm.
- They are single use. You should not wear N95 masks more than for a few hours, especially in a medical setting where COVID-19 patients are being treated.
- Can be expensive to acquire due to worldwide shortages, which has driven prices up. Accounts of people paying upwards of 1,000% more than their pre-pandemic prices.
KN95 Face Masks
The KN95 face mask is a four-layered mask that protects from all types of particles, big or small. You can also wear this type of mask for a more extended time. The KN95 mask offers efficient respiratory security against all sorts of particles found in the air, including bacteria and viruses, such as coronavirus.
These types of masks were made accessible to larger quantities around April 2020, supporting the Chinese people along with other countries to fight the coronavirus pandemic. KN95 masks are also trusted and used by healthcare professionals.
KN95 Face Mask Pros:
Various sizes that fits perfectly on the face
Filter 95% of germs and viruses
Soft and comfortable
More affordable and more accessible than N95 masks
KN95 Face Mask Cons:
Many fraudulent producers are out there. The issue has become so problematic in 2020 the CDC has had to create a short “whitelist”. This whitelist is a list of manufacturers that produce real KN95’s. You can find the “whitelisted” suppliers here.
Doesn’t shield from particles smaller than 0.3 microns
Not NIOSH approved
- Are single use, which means you will need to have a large stock available to maintain safety standards at the workplace.
Cloth Face Masks
Cloth Face Coverings doesn’t give you the same protection as most face masks or respirators will. Still, they can give you some protection when in public places. They can stop people without symptoms from transmitting viruses through their respiratory droplets.
Even though cloth masks tend to be less efficient than other masks, preliminary conclusions suggest they are considerably better than no mask at all when used and appropriately manufactured.
Cloth Face Mask Pros:
Widely available. Many companies have transitioned to making cloth face masks to keep up with worldwide demand, making them affordable to most.
Come in multiple styles and colors.
Soft and comfortable while wearing. They also are machine washable so you can get roughly 10-30 washes out of each cloth mask.
Lowers the risk on getting infected or infect others
Cloth Face Mask Cons:
Doesn’t have a filtration system like KN95s or N95s.
Doesn’t give you excellent protection against viruses or any harmful diseases and should never be used in a medical setting unless used as a cover for official N95 masks.
Not NIOSH approved
- Some masks are made dirt cheap, with only 1 or two layers of fabric, which doesn’t give much protection. If you’re looking for bulk face masks, all of our cloth face masks are 3 layer to keep you more protected than many cheap versions.
Every mask has its pros and cons, so the decision of which mask suits you best will always depend on what you are looking to buy. According to the world health organization (WHO), for a mask to protect you, it should be tightly placed on your face and not leave any gaps on the sides.
Also, the mask should cover your mouth, nose, and chin. So choosing a mask that will give that kind of protection is ideal. With schools attempting to resume classes, it’s critical to stock up on bulk youth face masks to ensure minimal spread from asymptomatic students to teachers and family members.
Coronavirus is here, and there aren’t any vaccines that will stop the virus from spreading just yet, so remember to protect yourself with a safe face mask and not touch your face, even if you are wearing a mask.
When removing the mask, you should always remember to wash your hands before and after. The best way to remove a mask is always by the strings while avoiding touching the mask itself.
If you are using a washable mask, you should always hold the mask after use by the straps, and the ideal would be to wash it in warm water with detergent at least once a day. You should avoid wearing masks that make you feel hot or feel hard to breathe in.
Fortunately there are many types of face masks that are able to provide you great protection while making you feel comfortable to make a somehow normal life in a not so normal world. Above all, stay safe and protect others.