There are different face masks but each one has its own purpose. Which one is ideal for you?
Lately, there’s been a new mandatory addition to our outfits- masks. In times like these, wearing a mask, and that too, the correct one is extremely important. It is one of the effective preventive measures against this virus, along with physical distancing and personal hygiene. The ideal mask is the one that covers your nose and mouth without large gaps, fits snugly by the sides of your face and has ear loops or ties that you can adjust.
There are many types of masks available, but do you know which one suits you?
Face shield is not exactly a mask, but it is a clear piece of plastic that covers your entire face. A face shield is not effective on its own. It is worn over a mask for additional protection.
Face shields are usually worn by those who are in close proximity of COVID-19 patients.
The N95 mask or N95 respirator filters 95% of the air borne particles. They’re made with a fine mesh of synthetic polymer fibres. If you’re a non healthcare worker, then there’s no need for you to wear an N95 respirator. N95 respirators are required by doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers. Each N95 respirator is custom made for the wearer so that it fits appropriately. There is a shortage of N95 respirators, so it must be reserved for healthcare workers.
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Surgical masks are blue colored with white borders around them. It has a loose fit and covers the nose and mouth. Despite being loose, they are fluid resistant and protect against the large droplets that come from a sick person’s cough or sneeze.
Surgical masks are disposable and cannot be washed.
Like N95 masks, these are meant for healthcare workers.
Dust masks look like N95 respirators and they’re cheaper and lighter than N95 respirators but they are only meant to filter dust particles. They do not protect against vapours or mists, and hence may not be a wise choice for protection against coronavirus.
Neck gaiters are a stylish way of face protection, however, not all of them are equally effective against coronavirus. Only the ones that have 3 layers and are made of cotton are good enough to protect you. Like other masks, the neck gaiter must cover your nose and mouth and should fit perfectly, without leaving large gaps.
Cloth masks are the most common among non healthcare workers. They are easily accessible and affordable. They can even be made at home and are as effective as surgical masks if made correctly.
The cloth mask should be a double or tripled layer. It should be made with breathable fabrics like cotton or linen. Using fabrics like vinyl, would make it hard to breathe for the wearer.
To find out how good the fabric of the mask is, hold it against a source of light, preferably natural. The fewer holes you see, the better is the fabric.
One of the advantages of a cloth mask is that they are reusable. They must be washed before and after every use and properly handled. They can be washed with your regular laundry, using regular detergent and warm water.
Cloth masks can be used for wearing daily if you have to go to a public place.
Cloth mask with a filter
Some cloth masks have a pocket for air filters. These filter out additional particles present in the air. Studies are still going on to determine whether a mask with a filter is better than the one without it. However, filters might make it difficult to breathe through the mask. If you have respiratory problems, it is advised that you avoid masks with filters and opt for the ones without a filter.
No matter what mask you choose to wear, it is equally important to maintain distance at public places and to maintain good personal hygiene. Lastly, avoid going out of your house unless it is absolutely necessary and stay safe.
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