New Normal – MASKS – Know The Types and How Effective They Are

Kiran Singh

As per WHO and public health departments, wearing a face mask is mandatory as it helps in controlling the spread of novel coronavirus. With this new normal, you must be noticing that people are wearing varieties of masks that are different in look, style, and fabric. Basically, they wear what they get. Availability plays a vital role in this case, they do not consider the effectiveness, just the design or colour will work. But you should consider the other factors that are involved in the protection from viruses.

New Normal - MASKS - Know The Types and How Effective They Are

In this article, you will get to know the variety of face covers available in the market and how effective they are:

Homemade cloth mask

As per the research masks with a single layer may offer 1% of particle filtration whereas two layers offer about 35% of small particle filtration. Droplets spray from 8 feet to 2 ½ inches decreases by wearing a cotton mask, now this reduces the number of particles that probably contain viruses you discharge in the air.

On the construction of the mask, the effectiveness of the Homemade cloth face mask depends. Thus, it has been noticed by researchers that densely woven cotton fabric masks are the best. Double layers masks are more effective than a single-layered mask and the most effective one is 3 layer masks.

Store-bought cloth mask

As mentioned earlier the effectiveness of cloth masks depends on the construction. It has been recommended that when you search for a mask then ideally go for a 3 layer mask, that too 100% cotton cloth. A water-resistant fabric should be the first layer, then the inner layers should be Water-absorbent and finally, the middle layer should act as a filter. A low-quality mask can be 10-20% protective, whereas a high-quality mask can offer protection of 80-95% and a typical cloth mask will provide 50% of protection.

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Bandana

Often seen people wearing a bandana as a head or neck covering but these days people are wearing this square or triangular piece of cloth as a mask. To save the respiratory system from dust and other particles, Bandana was used and not from now but from past so many years.

Lately, as it is used as a mask, thus it offers protection against cough, sneeze, and droplets. As per the research, a droplet can spray more than eight feet, and wearing a bandana can reduce it to 4 feet. Hence, it is beneficial but up to some extent not completely.

Cloth masks with filter

There are a few stores where you can get a cloth mask with filter pockets, now with this sort of mask you can use facial tissue as a filter and easily slip the tissue into the available filter pocket. Just remember to change it daily. A polypropylene material must be used in making a filter mask is recommended by experts and adding it with 2 layered cloth masks will increase the filtration from 35% to almost 70%.

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Neck gaiters and balaclavas

Neck gaiters and balaclavas have often been seen with outdoor enthusiasts. They wore it around the neck and can be adjusted as per the requirement to protect the neck or face. These offer some protection against the coronavirus spread.

Point to be noted that they are created with synthetic fabric and don’t seem to be as efficient in the spread of small p[articles as compared to cotton. They are considered more harmful as they aerosolized the respiratory droplets of wearers.

Disposable surgical mask

They are normally light blue and white in colour. As per the study in 2013, it has been found that surgical masks offer 60% of filtration from small particles. They are mainly aimed to stop splatters, droplets, and sprays. It has been recommended to wear them as they diminish the spread of respiratory infections. Ideally, surgical masks should be disposed of after wearing it as it is created to be used only once.

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Cone-style masks

They are the modded masks that fit perfectly over the nose and mouth. Normally it has a strip of metal that is used to protect the mask at the bridge of the nose. It has been analyzed that as compared to cloth masks the cone-style masks are less effective as they hardly give any protection from spray and droplets. Though they are more efficient than a bandana.

N95 and other respirators

As compared to other respirators, N95 offers more protection against the COVID-19 and other diseases related to respiration. From the air that we breathe in, N95 filters 95% of particles from the air. However, they are supplied less and should be reserved for healthcare and medical workers. As per the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the N95 masks are not recommended for the general public. In case, you and your family or friends have N95 masks then you should take the initiative of donating them to the nearest local hospitals. Our medical workers and other frontline workers need them more than we do.

Final Words

With the rise in the number of COVID-19 patients all around the world, it has become necessary to wear a mask, so that you not only secure yourself but protect other people from the spread of the virus. All the above-mentioned masks or face covers are intended to protect you from the respiratory droplets and spray but it is always a good step to know more about what you are wearing and how it is protecting you from the virus. Thus, don’t go for designs and styles only buy check how sufficient it is to protect you and others who are around you. Now you know the varieties of masks and it must be easy now to choose the one as per the effectiveness. Make sure that you do not use  N95 masks as they are specially designed for people who are more in connection with coronavirus patients or handling more people at the time, so they can get infected easily like medical workers and police.

*Do connect with me on Instagram at @KiranSinghUK for behind the scenes, daily updates, inspiration and more!

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