Wearing a mask whenever you leave the house has become the new norm.
In preventing the spread of the latest coronavirus pandemic, the government and partnering agencies have suggested, and in some places enforced, the wearing of a face mask when you are out in public.
If you aren’t sure what this means, here is a little guidance.
Why do I need a mask?
You may be wondering why masks are required for everybody. Here are a couple of reasons for places to require a mask:
How Covid-19 Spreads
The main reason for the mask is to help prevent spreading of the current coronavirus, Covid-19.
This virus is spread through respiratory droplets. These droplets are what little amounts of saliva or mucous that is expressed through your respiratory tract.
Respiratory droplets come out through coughing, sneezing, talking, or just breathing in general. The droplets are then breathed in by people around you.
Even if you are not sick, you could be carrier of the virus and can cause it to spread.
How does the mask work?
Masks, when worn properly, protect the wearer from the respiratory droplets mentioned above.
The droplets cannot enter another person’s respiratory system if they are wearing a mask. Thus, lessening the probability that they will get the virus or carry it to someone else.
Recent studies have shown that wearing a mask reduces the growth, or spread, rate of the virus. This means that there is a reason for wearing a mask around other people.
The type of mask matters
With the new norm of wearing a mask, there has been debates on whether a specific mask is better than others.
The answer is, yes, some materials work best while others do not.
What masks are the best?
Right off the bat, the most effective mask is the medical grade N95 mask. These masks are designed to form a seal around your nose and mouth and filter the air as the wearer breathes.
The N95s are not suggested for general public use as they need to be reserved for those that work in the medical field.
Surgical masks, 2-layer cotton masks, and any mask with a polypropylene blend (a very versatile plastic) also did well in reducing the number of droplets expressed into the air.
Bandanas do not work as a mask for preventing the spread of coronavirus.
One of the most talked about mask options is the gaiter.
Gaiters are usually a lightweight material usually worn by athletes. You can also commonly find them on those that ride motorcycles, ATVs, and UTVs.
Though single layer gaiters may not block as much of the droplets as others, they are better than no mask. You can also fold it over to make it a double layer actually performs better than an actual 2-layered gaiter.
Wearing a mask is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of Covid-19, whether you are sick or not. They reduce the number of droplets expressed into the air by others, and lessening the amount you breathe in.
With it being the new norm there are a lot of options. From clothing boutiques to individuals making them to give to other people, they have even become a fashion statement.
Sources: U.S. Food & Drug Administration; Harvard Health Publishing; University of California, San Francisco; MIT Medical