Which Face Masks Are Safest?
More mutations of COVID-19 continue to emerge, particularly in Europe. In accordance with new public mandates, people in Germany have to wear an N95 or surgical mask when visiting the grocery store, using public transportation or going out and about. This is the same in France, where citizens have been encouraged to swap their hand-sewn face coverings for single-use surgical masks.
Is it best to throw out your stash of handmade face coverings in favour of surgical grade equipment? Let’s take a closer look at which face masks are the safest and most effective.
Surgical masks have long been used by doctors, nurses and other medical professionals. In fact, these single-use masks have been a mainstay in all health-related matters for at least six decades already. A surgical mask creates a barrier between the mouth and the nose of the wearer, and any potential contaminates in their immediate environment. They are available in various thicknesses ranging from two to four ply. This impacts their ability to protect you from splashes, sprays and large particle droplets.
However, these kinds of masks aren’t effective in blocking very small particles in the air that have the potential to be transmitted through coughs and sneezes due to the relatively lose fit of the mask on one’s face. For this reason, some researchers suggest double masking for extra safety.
The N95 respirator masks are considered to be the gold standard of face coverings in the worlds of medicine and construction. These masks are different from surgical masks in that they are designed to fit very snugly onto the face.
N95 respirators are the most effective masks for filtering out particles. In fact, they have a droplet transmission rate of less than 0.1%. However, researchers have encouraged the general public not to wear these masks in order to reserve supplies for health care workers and medical responders.
Cloth Face Masks
Cloth masks have been hailed as an environmentally friendly alternative to single-use masks. They have proven to be effective in helping reduce the spread of COVID-19. However, researchers do recommend that when choosing or creating your mask, you take a few considerations into account:
- Look for masks with three layers of protection. For the most effective filtration of particles, a mask with two woven layers of outside material, with one filtering material in the middle, such as a coffee filter or vacuum bag, is best.
- Always choose flexible material. Be sure to be on the lookout for tightly woven fabric that will cling to your face, as this will work best. This will help to eliminate any gaps while out and about or playing the casino slots Argentina has to offer.
- Choose ties instead of ear loops. It is easier to control the fit and contour of a mask if it is secured to your head with ties. By contrast, ear loops create a larger gap at the sides of your face. Loops are also known to hurt after wearing them for long periods of time and can also lead to headaches.