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Masks are probably the accessory of the year. They are pivotal in saving lives against the deadly covid-19 outbreak. Perhaps, it is safe to say that any mask is better than no mask at all when it comes to preventing community transmission of the virus.
That said, choosing the right face mask is important for utmost protection. And this process involves a myriad factors such as the size of your head, facial features, personal behavioural patterns, and professional environment.
As per India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, respiratory viruses such as coronaviruses impact the upper and lower respiratory tracts and hence, masks can play a crucial role in protecting the airway from the particulate matter generated by droplets/aerosols that might contain the infection.
And with the variety of masks available in the market just increasing—choosing efficiency over patterns and styles can become a bit tricky. Hence, we would like to present to you the three things to look out for when choosing a mask for yourself:
When choosing the type of mask that is best suited to you, it is prudent to take into consideration the personal and professional environment you operate from. For professional spaces, there are two types of masks that could be considered: triple-layer medical mask and the N-95 respirator mask.
Triple-layer medical masks are disposable masks, which are fluid-resistant and provide protection to the wearer from droplets of infectious material emitted during coughing, sneezing, and talking.
On the other hand, respirator masks such as the N-95 variant, have high filtration efficiency to airborne particles and are designed to enable a close facial fit. In case your N95 mask does not support a home wash, then it is advisable to discard it after a period of extensive use.
An advisory by Harvard University states that washable, cloth-based masks prevent the wearer from spreading large respiratory droplets to others, and to their surroundings. And so they are suited for day to day wear when you may step out of your home for mundane activities and/or exercising.
Simple washable and reusable cotton-based masks work well to prevent the spread of the virus. However, some fabrics can filter out more virus particles than others and therefore, thicker, denser fabrics will do a better job than thinner, more loosely woven ones. Masks are also available with adjustable straps that can provide you with varying degrees of comfort depending on your face size and threshold of wearing them for longer durations.
Ensure that the mask you choose fully covers your nose and mouth, extending an inch or more past the ends of your mouth and wrapping the bottom of your chin like an anchor. While the fit should be comfortable against the sides of your face and should not interfere with breathing, in case there are gaps on the sides, you may want to reconsider the mask.
It’s easy to pick out a fancy face mask but remember it’s more crucial to pick out the right one to protect yourself and your loved ones.