A guide on different types and effectiveness of masks

During this coronavirus crisis, wearing masks has been the new ‘normal’. It’s become part of our outfit. Some purposely made even more stylish.

But how do we determine it’s effectiveness?

Before hoarding face masks, we must first consider that there are several types of masks made for different purposes – and that is why it’s effectiveness also varies.

It is important that we know how to wear masks properly to make sure we get the protection we need. Same goes to proper disposal to avoid the spread of germs and bacteria.

1. Surgical masks

Surgical masks or medical masks are thin, flat, and rectangular in shape. These are disposable masks, should and must only be used ONCE.

When worn properly, it can block droplets, splashes, spatters, and sprays that may contain germs like viruses from entering your nose or mouth. This type of mask is highly recommended worn by those who are experiencing any respiratory illness or is caring for a sick family member.

2. N95 masks

Unlike the loose fit of medical masks, N95 masks give you a close facial fit with an efficient filtration of airborne particles. It seals around the mouth and nose.

Courtesy of Forbes

N95 masks are commonly used in industrial and health care settings. It’s respirator blocks at least 95% of very small particles. N95 masks that are for health-care use are also disposable. Although people who are having difficulties in breathing are not recommended to use this type of mask.

3. DIY or Cloth masks

Fabric or cotton masks are not as effective as other medical masks but they can still offer a bit of protection. Better than none right? Cloth masks can also be laundered using a hot cycle and dried thoroughly.

Courtesy of Business Insider

In case you are thinking of making your own fabric mask, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cotton is a good choice. There are many video tutorials on YouTube that you can follow as well.

The effectiveness of each mask also depends on how it is properly worn. Make sure to have it as fit to your face as possible. Wear it using clean and sanitized hand. Masks must not be shared with others and must be disposed in the garbage after use.

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