Not All Masks Are Equal. Some, such as N95 face mask material, are effective in filtering out airborne microorganisms like viruses and bacteria, while others are insufficient. As everyone around the globe attempts to cope with the new normal, the concept and effectiveness of face masks in protecting against the contagious COVID-19 is a cause for concern. That said, which mask is the best?
Health experts have cautioned for, and at times against, wearing protective face masks to prevent the spread of the disease. The implications of wearing face masks, however, extend further than just containing the deadly Corona Virus. That said, the question is which types of masks and mask materials are the best? Before exploring the different types of masks and what they are appropriate for, here are the top 5 reasons why everyone should wear a face mask amidst COVID-19.
Top 5 Reasons to Wear a Face Mask
1. Masks Protect Others
The coronavirus has infected over 5 million Americans and over 25 million people worldwide. The highly contagious disease primarily spreads when respiratory droplets from an infected person meet the mucous membranes of a healthy person. It is everyone’s responsibility to be proactive in protecting themselves and others. With a mask, when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks, all the droplets are blocked. The mask acts as a barrier that contains all the infected droplets, protecting the people around them.
2. Everyone is a Potential Transmitter
Some people probably think that because they are ‘healthy’ and have no symptoms of the disease, they are safe and cannot spread the virus so there is no need for a mask. Just to reiterate what the CDC and WHO keep repeating, numerous asymptomatic people are spreading the disease without realizing it. That said, masks are recommended for everyone over the age of 2 years old. Even at the pre-symptomatic stage, the disease can still spread. Because everyone is a potential transmitter, the use of a face mask can help prevent the spread of the disease unknowingly.
3. Healthy People Benefit from Masks Too
As a healthy individual, if someone coughs near you, a mask will block the droplets containing the virus from getting into your nose and mouth. This in turn will help prevent the spread of the virus. If everyone wears a face mask, the chain between infection spread is cut, and the virus will no longer be transmitted or propagated. It is, therefore, a collected benefit that reduces every person’s risk for infection. In America, states that have mandated the use of face masks report lower infection relative to states that have not.
4. Masks Are a Step to Economic Recovery
Nationwide lockdowns have had catastrophic effects on businesses and the economy in general. With more than 40 million Americans filing for unemployment benefits, one can only imagine the kind of damage that the country is facing economically. The use of masks will not only help recover around 5% GDP but will also help to control the outbreak. It will also slow down the rate of infection which is estimated at 100,000 new infections daily without the use of face masks.
5. Wearing a Mask is the Best Option to Decrease the Spread
Currently, there are fewer alternatives to protecting oneself and others. Hand sanitizers are limited to disinfection after encountering contaminated surfaces but will not prevent airborne transmission. Vaccines, on the other hand, are yet to be found, as well as effective drug therapies that so far have been insufficient. Wearing a face mask to help prevent the spread of the disease, alongside physical distancing, and handwashing, so far are the best options available. Furthermore, these are low-cost strategies that are relatively simple to implement.
Different Types of Face masks in the Market Right Now
There are various face mask materials and styles available all of which have been approved by the CDC and WHO. Nevertheless, face masks differ in the level of protection, as well as cost. As such, they include basic cloth face masks, surgical face masks, N95 face masks, N95 face mask material, N95 respirators, KN95 respirator, Full-length face shields, Filtering face piece respirators, P100 respirators, Self-contained breathing apparatus, and full-face respirators. Here are the most popular ones:
Cloth face masks are made using single-layered or multiple layered fabric like cotton and ear loops or ties around the head. They trap respiratory droplets by creating a physical barrier, and the level of their protection is directly proportional to the thickness of the material used or the filters that are inserted into them. They are easy to make at home using a sewing machine and can be made using various types of fabric although tightly woven fabrics like cotton are recommended.
N95 Face Mask Material respirators
N95 Respirators are professional-grade medical masks that are perfectly sized to completely seal off the outside from the face. When professionally fitted, they are extremely effective in keeping out all droplets in the air and are therefore the go-to for healthcare professionals currently. This makes them essential, yet they are scarce for healthcare workers who are at most risk. As such, the population is advised to avoid wearing these masks to conserve PPE for those who need it the most.
These are light blue disposable covers made of a combination of plastic and paper. They have been an important part of personal protective equipment (PPE) worn by medical professionals during surgeries or other procedures. They are effective in protecting against large respiratory droplets but do not protect against smaller droplets. Unlike cloth masks, they are not washable, hence should be disposed of after use.
These are clear plastic sheets that hang from a headband worn on the head and run below the chin. Previously they were used to protect against fluid splatter by healthcare professionals but are now being used as an extra layer of protection, especially by people who come into proximity with others. They are however insufficient when used alone since they do not stop respiratory droplets completely.
What Is the Best Type of Face Mask Protection?
N95 Masks are considered the most effective in protecting against Coronavirus and other respiratory droplets. Since they are scarce and only limited to healthcare professionals, the best option is a fabric face mask with a filter pocket. This gives you three layers of protection and a mask that can be reused repeatedly. For the best filtration protection, Filti has designed and manufactured a nanofiber N95 face mask material. This revolutionary filter material is 95% efficient in trapping viruses, bacteria, and more. When inserted into a cloth face mask the person wearing the mask is protected from even the smallest airborne particulates.
Which Mask is The Best for Me?
There are many different styles of DIY masks and masks you can purchase depending on your preference. The most important factors are how effective is the mask, does it fit your unique style, and is it comfortable? The best mask is one that provides all 3 attributes. We highly recommend trying different styles to see what gives you the fit you want.
We also recommend, that the mask you make, or purchase is 3 layers and is made of tightly woven cotton for the best protection. The inner layer of your mask will be where your filter is inserted. Have some fun and pick out the material that fits your personality and makes you happy!
At Filti, it is our mission to provide products to help protect you and your loved ones. Our N95 face mask material is available in large sheets, pre-cut inserts, and complete face mask kits. We believe that quality filtration products are the best protection against this virus. For more information on product specifications or to purchase our N95 Nanofiber filters, visit our online store.