Trying to choose the best face mask options for coronavirus protection? Then, along with other protective measures, you need to opt for wearing a protective cover. Using a mask along with physical or social distancing and proper hand hygiene will keep you safe from SARS-CoV-2 infection. The protective you choose is an easy and inexpensive option to keep yourself safe. Combining all the techniques will help avoid transmission of the virus and flatten the curve. Since many countries using a face mask have now shown positive results in preventing the disease, health agencies encourage people to follow it. By opting to wear a face cover in public will control the disease spread. So, which type of mask will work the best in avoiding transmission of SARA-CoV-2 when you are amidst people? Continue reading to know the right option that will work well.
Importance Of Using The Best Face Mask Options For Coronavirus Protection
China reported the first case of COVID-19 in late December 2019. But, never did one imagine the contagious nature of the disease. Within a span of a few months, it spread to several countries and resulted in the death of lakhs of people. It is still not under control as new epicenters of the disease are emerging. The disease infects a person when a transmission or viral shedding occurs early during the incubation period. So, after contracting the virus, you can spread it to others before showing any symptoms. Apart from that, some people who contract the SARA-CoV-2 show no symptoms. Such asymptomatic people transmit 80% of the virus to others. They are unaware of the infection and come in close contact with others. It increases infection rates.
Several studies indicate the efficiency in controlling the infection with the use of a mask. When you choose a protective cover from the best face mask options for coronavirus protection, it helps limit the transmission of the virus from people who never realize they have the disease.
The Best Face Mask Options For Coronavirus Protection
You have three different choices while choosing the face mask. Among them, you can opt for the best face mask options for coronavirus protection depending on your risk level. Here are the three types and who can use it:
It is the seal-tested and fit-tested respirators for foolproof protection from SARS-CoV-2. Therefore, these medical masks use tangled fibers to develop them. So, these masks can filter the harmful pathogens in the air. The masks must meet the highest and rigorous filtration standards. Coronavirus has an estimated diameter of 125 nm (nanometers). So, these masks can filter such minute pathogens. So, different respirators can offer better protection as:
- The certified N95 respirators can filter 95% of particles (between 100 to 300 nm in size).
- While the N99 respirators can filter 99% of minute pathogens.
- N100 respirators filter 99.7% of harmful bacteria and other pathogens.
Some of the respirators have valves allowing the air exhaled to get out. So, it makes it easier for the user to breathe without any discomfort. But, the mask has a downside. People using it are susceptible to pathogens and pathogen exhaled through the valves of the masks.
Who Can Use It?
Healthcare workers and first responders who test as well as treat patients for COVID 19 need the mask. Anyone interacting with infectious people or suspected illness. N95 respirators are designed for medical use and it is reserved for professionals who come in contact with COVID-19 patients daily. These masks fit snugly on your face. So, it effectively filters the air to avoid respiratory droplets from getting around or through the device. Apart from using the mask, medical professionals must also use other PPE (personal protective equipment), including face shields to protect the nose, eyes, and mouth. Such protective gear offers protection from contaminated respiratory droplets.
Checking For Efficiency
For the efficient working of the N95 respirators, it is important to test the product at least a year. Only with proper testing to ensure perfect size and fit the product can prove helpful in preventing the infection. The mask is also checked for air leakage using specific test particles. These routine tests are essential to ensure the harmful particles as well as pathogens never leak through. Since every country around the world is suffering from the pandemic, the need for respirators has increased. So, these masks are reserved for medical workers as well as first responders. They need to fit test it and wear them while treating patients. Never hoard or divert the use of these respirators. It only leads to causing harm to the patients and medical staff.
Surgical Masks: One Of The Best Face Mask Options For Coronavirus Protection
You have different types of surgical masks. It is the best face mask options for coronavirus protection. In most cases, you get the single-use, disposable masks. It is made by cutting the material into a rectangle shape with pleats. It covers your nose, nose, and chin to avoid coming in contact with the pathogens. The common material used is polypropylene, the breathable synthetic fabric offers better bacteria filtration along with air permeability. Unlike N95 respirators, surgical masks never have to meet high filtration standards. They are also not required to form a tight seal against your face. So, these masks filter pathogens less compared to respirators (10% to 90%).
Checking For Efficiency
While the surgical mask is not as effective as N95 respirators, it reduces the risk of various respiratory illnesses. But, frontline health workers need to use it properly and consistently to ensure it offers effective results. Adherence plays an important role in enhancing the effectiveness of medical-grade masks.
Who Can Use It?
It is suggested for healthcare workers who indirectly work with COVID-19 patients. The mask does not have a tight seal and cannot stop small particles from entering your nose, mouth, or eyes. So, it is not useful for healthcare professionals who come in close contact with infectious patients. But, it can prevent the possible spread of COVID-19 by containing the large respiratory droplets. Like influenza and other respiratory diseases, SARS-CoV-2 is transmitted from one person to another through respiratory droplets from cough or sneeze. The procedure or surgical mask offers protection against such large droplets spread.
Cloth Masks: One Of The Cheapest And Best Face Mask Options For Coronavirus Protection
While the cloth mask fails to offer complete protection like N95 respirators, it is the most logical and easiest option available to avoid spreading of the COVID-19. The wearer can feel the gaps near the nose, cheeks, and jaw that allows the inhalation of contaminated droplets. Also, the porous fabric used to make the mask fails to keep out the tiny droplets.
Remember, the cloth masks are less effective compared to the medical-grade masks. So, compared to the other two masks, people can get a certain degree of protection. It is not ideal for individuals who come in close contact with infected people. But, experimental results suggest that it is far better than wearing no mask. So, when you wear a properly constructed mask correctly, then it can limit the spread of SARS-CoV-2.
Who Can Use?
When you choose cloth masks, you need to understand it is not medical-grade. So, it is ideal in a non-patient setting. It can contain coughs and sneezes. So, it limits the spread of contaminated droplets. It also reminds you not to touch your face. Never use it to provide medical care to patients.
Materials That Work For The Best Face Mask Options For Coronavirus
If you want a mask to work effectively, it must have the best materials. So, let’s see the different materials that make the masks superior and ensure good protection.
Making Cloth Mask
For the homemade cloth mask to work efficiently, it must have two layers of cotton. Choose tightly woven 100% cotton fabric to make the mask. So, choose bedsheets or quilter’s material with a high thread count. Then, fold it into multiple layers for better filtering. You need to choose thick, high-grade cotton sheets for making the mask. Such materials can filter small particles better. But, stay away from too thick materials (like thick vacuum bag). These may cause problems breathing properly. While you find a bit of breathing resistance when you wear a mask, never choose materials that do not let air through. Difficulty in the air to pass through the masks can make it hard for you to breathe. So, it puts pressure on your lungs and heart.
Some people opt for filters to boost the efficiency of the face masks. So, when you make a face mask at home, you can opt for coffee filters, paper towels, or other filters to ensure better protection. But, make sure they use of filters does not affect your breathing.
Surgical Mask: Materials For The Best Face Mask Options For Coronavirus Protection
The surgical masks are made with non-woven fabric to ensure better bacteria filtration. But, it is less slippery compared to woven cloth. So, it remains on your face. For better protection, manufacturers make the mask using polypropylene with 20 or 25 GSM (grams per square meter) in density. But, masks are also made with polyester, polyethylene, polycarbonate, or polystyrene.
Construction Of N95 Respirator
The most efficient mask consists of multiple layers of non-woven fabric. In most cases, the N95 respirator uses polypropylene to create the mask. It has two outward protective fabric layers. So, it covers the inside as well as outside of the N95 respirator. Spun bonding technique helps develop the mask. The density of the out layers of the respirators is between 20 and 50 GSM (grams/square meter) in density. So, it offers the wearer better protection from the wearer’s inhalation. It also acts as a barrier to the outside environment.
Make A Cloth Mask At Home: One Of The Best Face Mask Options For Coronavirus Protection
Is it possible to make a cloth mask at home? Yes, you can make one of the best face mask options for coronavirus protection at home. You just need cotton or linen cloth, bandanas, t-shirt, or others that you can use when going out. What is interesting? You can make one that matches your dress or even one for children. But, make sure you wash the mask daily after use.
Ideal Items To Make Face Mask
So, what items can you use to make a face mask that will offer you protection against harmful pathogens? Just look in your closet, you can find the following items to make a protective cover:
- Hand towels
- Linen or cotton items
Ensure that the cloth you use is more densely woven. So, opt for cotton sheets or quilting cotton as they can filter harmful particles. Another important factor you need to consider is it must have fewer tiny holes when you hold the fabric up to the light. Fewer tiny holes mean better filtering of droplets. But, you need to find a good balance that offers protection as well as makes it easier to breathe. So, choose a fabric that will allow droplets to pass through without obstructing your breathing with the mask covering your nose and mouth.
Creating Your Own Filter
If you are trying to make a mask at home, then you can create your filter. While making the mask, you need to create a pocket to hold the filter. Most people opt for a coffee filter, which is easily available. Other filter options suggested by DIY experts are:
- HEPA furnace filters
- Unused vacuum cleaner bags
- HVAC anti-allergy filter
When you use the above-mentioned filters, keep in mind to sandwich them between at least two layers of fabrics. It is essential to cut down the inhaling of harmful fibers from the material used in the filters. While no conclusive data exists on the added protection offered by the filters, people feel confident when they use one. But, irrespective of the filter you choose for the mask, you need to ensure easy breathing while using the facemask. If you feel shortness of breath while using the filter, then avoid it.
Tips To Buy The Best Face Mask Options For Coronavirus Protection
When you buy facemask, you need to ensure it offers optimum protection. So, you need to focus on the points suggested below:
Layers Of Fabric
You have to choose a mask that has at least two layers of fabric. One layer touches the face, while the other faces outside. It will effectively filter out the particles while you can breathe easily.
It must cover your nose and mouth without any gaps. The snug fit of the facemask is essential to eliminate the chance of harmful pathogens entering your body through gaps. People who wear glasses, need to look for a mask with a bendable border at the top. This design will help the mask to mold according to the shape of your nose. It will fit the bridge of the nose and prevent the glasses from fogging.
Since the mask is created to fit all people, it must have ties or ear loops. It will help you adjust it.
Reserve Special Mask
The N95 respirator is a part of the PPE (personal protective equipment) that you need to reserve for professional healthcare workers. These people are on the front lines to care for COVID-19 infected patients.
Coronavirus is a pandemic. Opting the best facemask alone will not make you immune from the SARS-CoV-2 virus. You need to ensure good hand hygiene along with social distancing to avoid the contagious disease from affecting. Wearing a mask offers more protection to people around you compared to yourself. It prevents the spread of infected droplets from asymptomatic people. So, wear a mask as a responsible person and prevent the spread of the disease
Importance Of Choosing The Best Face Mask Options For Coronavirus Protection
The WHO recommends all people wear a protective cover while going out. Apart from choosing the best face mask options for coronavirus protection, you need to wear it in a public setting, especially where it becomes difficult to achieve and maintain the social distancing measures. So, using a facemask is key in areas where your community transmission is high. So, choosing the best face mask is necessary when you go to areas like:
- Hospitals and other healthcare settings
- Job sites finding it difficult to maintain physical distancing
Does Everyone Need To Choose The Best Face Mask Option For Coronavirus Protection?
While surgical masks and N95 respirators are best face mask options for coronavirus protection, you need to reserve it for healthcare workers. The high demand for the protection cover and limited supply makes it a hot commodity at present. Since healthcare workers and first responders are at high risk of contracting the infection due to constantly coming in contact with COVID-19, they need foolproof protection. For normal use, you can opt for cloth masks. It keeps the respiratory fluids from spreading to others. Every person must use a face mask when they go outside. Here are some facts regarding the different masks:
- Surgical grade N95 respirators offer the highest level of protection against SARS-CoV-2. Surgical masks come next in the protection offered.
- N95 respirators are costly and due to the pandemic, have limited supply. COVID-19 has affected people in most of the countries around the world. Therefore, only healthcare workers with a high risk of infection can use the mask, which is a part of personal protection equipment.
- Wearing N95 respirators can cause discomfort. So, healthcare professionals with training to use it better than others.
- People with breathing issues or children below two years must avoid using the mask. It is because it can lead to suffocation.
While everyone must opt for a face mask, some people face more difficulty while wearing it. So, you need to consult your doctor to discuss your issues. Your doctor can advise on the right type of face covering that will offer you protection from SARS-CoV-2 when you go out in public. Follow the suggestion and other guidelines to ensure you ward off the infection.
Safety Tips For Best Face Mask Option For Optimum Protection
Apart from choosing the best face mask options for coronavirus protection, you need to follow the tips suggested below for effectiveness:
For complete effectiveness, you need to follow proper hand hygiene each time you use a facemask. So, you need to wash your hands with soap and water when you put on, touch the surface of the mask, or remove it. If you have no soap and water available, then use a hand sanitizer.
You need to avoid touching the front of the mask. So, when you put on or off the protective cover, you need to hold it by the ties or ear loops. The front of the mask has the presence of harmful pathogens, which contaminates it. Therefore, refrain from touching the mask when you wear it on your face.
You need to make sure the face mask you choose fits your face snugly. It is important to fit the straps securely behind your head or over your ears. Proper fit is essential to prevent the harmful pathogens from accessing your nose and face. When the mask fits loosely, it can lead to exposure to the harmful virus.
Proper Mask Sanitization
When you use a disposable surgical mask, throw it away after use. But, when you use a cloth mask, you need to ensure proper sanitization. Keep the cloth mask clean. So, run the mask through the washer and dryer after every use. You can opt for laundry detergent to wash the mask. Also, you need to place the washed mask in a paper bag. Store the bag in a dry and warm place for at least two or more days before you opt to wear it again.
If healthcare workers are provided with a reusable N95 respirator or surgical mask, then you need to follow all the instructions on the product. It is essential to isolate the mask in a breathable container like a paper bag. It is essential to keep the paper bag in a warm place for seven or more days. Several hospitals are adopting new and more efficient methods to make the virus inactive and eliminate the chance of infection.
Use the need to choose the best face mask options for coronavirus protection. Apart from that, you must also practice social distance and ensure good hand hygiene. Combining the three strategies is the key to prevent the spread of COVID-19. While the usual cloth masks may not offer you foolproof protection by filtering out small particles, like surgical masks or respirators, they can offer you protection compared to not wearing a mask at all. You can choose a cloth mask with proper construction and wear it properly. With good maintenance, these masks offer you effective protection. The world is returning to work and people are coming out from the lockdown. So, it increases the risk of getting an infection. With an appropriate face mask you can face the increases virus transmission.View Article Sources