In a matter of weeks, face masks went from being considered unnecessary, and potentially harmful, to compulsory in several areas.
But which mask if you prefer? Is your hand-stitched one your father-in-law made just as great as the one generated by your favorite fashion store? Are disposable surgical masks equally as great? Just how many layers of fabric if it has?
To assist you wade through the mountain of options, we have taken a peek at the (admittedly limited) science available and spoken to experts to make a science-backed guide to conceal shopping.
Do we need to put on a mask?
Unless you’re under the age of two, have a specific medical condition that makes it hard for you to wear a mask, or can maintain six feet away from other people at all times (hello, hermits!), you need to wear a mask when you leave your residence, according to present recommendations in the CDC, WHO and public health experts. And it might be a necessity in your state or city.
What does a mask do?
We now know that the main way the novel coronavirus is spread is via respiratory droplets: tiny bits of saliva and other materials that are expelled from your mouth and nose when you sneeze, cough, talk or breathe. If you’re carrying the virus, then it may arrange a ride on those droplets and spread to surfaces or other people – penetrating their nose or mouth and causing infection. A mask may physically block these droplets from traveling further than your face.
While they are also able to give some security against COVID-19, there are lots of methods to come in contact with infectious droplets (touching a surface where droplets have landed, or using droplets land in your own eyes or skin), but fewer means of spreading droplets (probably only through your mouth and nose). Because of this, masks do a much better job at preventing an infectious individual from spreading the illness than they do protect a healthy individual from grabbing it. Wearing a mask isn’t spreading the virus rather protecting you.
Should we go disposable or reusable?
In laboratory tests, disposable surgical masks perform well for both breathability and blocking respiratory droplets. Depending upon the substance, the two types of masks can be both safe and effective. But disposable masks are only made to be worn once then thrown away (they begin to break down and become less effective after wearing), which is not great from an environmental perspective. Already, heaps of only personal protective equipment have been washing up on shorelines. In case a disposable mask is the only option, wear it, but a reusable, washable mask is a far better long-term solution.
What material is ideal to get a reusable mask?
A good deal of scientists are trying to figure this out, and the reply is not exactly simple (is anything straightforward when it comes to COVID?). What they’ve discovered is that it’s less about the kind of cloth cotton, lace, silk and much about the quality of the fabric, according to Segal. Higher quality fabrics have a tighter weave and thicker thread which do a better job of blocking droplets from passing.
“All the air will be forced from the sides. If you sneeze or cough, the majority of the droplets will escape out the side and you eliminate the point of the mask.”
That means you ought to be able to breathe through the mask. But measuring how successful a particular cloth is at blocking droplets needs a lab, and just because one lab finds a mask made from a 100 percent cotton T-shirt to be effective does not mean that the cotton T-shirt you have on your drawer is the same material. In place of precise measurements, Segal offered a guideline: maintain the material up to a glowing light.
“Look at the light coming through the cloth,” “If it outlines individual fibers and you can see the light through the fabric, it is probably not as effective. The fewer of them you can see, the better the filter”
How many layers is the greatest?
According to research that was published or republished so far, two layers do a much better job than one, and three layers do a much better job than just two.
In its guidelines, the WHO recommends a minimum of 3 layers, and lots of major producers appear to be using this as a guideline. So why not go four layers? You could, but don’t forget you don’t wish to sacrifice breathability (see above). Still, choosing a mask using more layers will normally add more protection.
Does thread count matter?
Thread count refers to the number of threads per square inch of fabric, but more is not necessarily better, according to Segal.
“Satin sheets possess superb high thread count but you can hardly breathe through them because it is so tight,”
What type should we purchase?
The most effective masks are ones that protect both your mouth and nose and create a somewhat snug seal on the edges of the mask. With no professional-grade mask like the N95 respirator, you are not likely to obtain an airtight seal, but that is okay. We are aiming for good, not perfect.
Should we buy handmade or mass-produced?
The effectiveness of this mask has to do with all the substance than whether it had been made at a factory or your kitchen table. Check out the material and choose (or create) the mask you find most comfortable and will be inclined to wear.
What about those exhalation vents?
Exhalation vents were created for masks that function a very different purpose than those that we should be wearing now. Those masks are meant to prevent the wearer from inhaling particles, not to prevent them from exhaling particles, therefore the vents make it easier to breathe while stopping the bad stuff from getting in. With COVID-19, masks are meant to block your lymph particles from coming out, to not block different things from getting in, so an exhalation port defeats the use of the mask.
At the end of the day, many experts also say that any face covering is much far better than no face covering. Do your best to locate a face mask Canada that’s breathable and that you don’t mind wearing, and you ought to be in great form.
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