All Masks Are Not Created Equal

All Masks Are Not Created Equal

Amidst the current pandemic, wearing a face mask has become the new normal.

However, with different places beginning to reopen, the mask in general has become a huge debate topic. Schools in particular are becoming more and more strict on what is an acceptable face mask and what is not.

Many people believe that as long as your face is covered you are good. Officials on the other hand, have a different perspective.

Most Effective Mask
With so many options on popping up all over the country, a big question is “what type of mask is the best?”

The most effective mask is the medical N95 without the exhalation valve. However, the Center for Disease Control, CDC, suggests this is not necessary for general public use. The N95 is intended for those working in the medical field and need to be reserved for those people.

Three-Layer Surgical Mask
Coming in second was another medical tool. The three-layer surgical mask are single use only and allowed a minimal number of respiratory droplets get through. They protect the wearer from germs carried through these droplets.

This is a mask designed with one layer of synthetic material placed between two layers of cotton. These masks are the top mask outside of those used in the medical field.

Recent studies show that more than one layer of any material is needed for greater efficiency.

Polypropylene Apron
This mask is two layers of a soft and easy to clean synthetic. Polypropylene has become one of the most popular types of masks. This is because viruses and bacteria cannot survive there. As far as homemade masks go, this is one of the best materials.

A swath is simply a damp washcloth. Experiments prove that holding one in front of your nose and mouth can block a majority of droplets.

Two-Layer Pleated
Using a high-density cotton helps make these masks a good choice. You can check this by holding it up to the light and see how well you can see through it. The lower the density, the more layers you will need.

Valved N95
Though these protect the wearers from other people’s germs, they do the opposite for those around the wearer. Since the valve is used to exhale the air, it is sending germs out to everybody else. The CDC has started to advise against using a mask with exhalation valves because they do little to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Olson Masks
This mask pattern was named after the nurse that created it. Though they are not a substitute for medical grade masks, they are an option for personal use.
This pattern is curved to fit the nose and mouth, which is very important in a masks effectiveness.

Masks to Avoid
Bandannas and neck gaiters are two of the worst ranked masks. Bandannas are able to reduce the range of particles during coughing or sneezing. However, it allows more droplets through than an uncovered cough.

Neck gaiters became very popular for those that did not want a mask. However, these fabrics are very porous and break larger particles into smaller ones. These smaller ones actually stay in the air longer than the larger ones.


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