Face masks have rapidly emerged as the most essential accessory of 2020.
Since the rise of the coronavirus and the COVID-19 pandemic, various healthcare groups and governments have begun recommending the use of face masks.
But which are the best face masks for COVID-19 protection?
N95 respirator masks offer the best protection according to the FDA and CDC. These surgical-grade masks protect the wearer from the majority of airborne particles. After N95 covers, the second most effective face masks to wear during Covid-19 are medical masks.
Unfortunately, most medical-grade masks are costly, difficult to find, and in limited supply.
The good news is that wearing any kind of face-covering still offers significant protection. Analysis by the Royal Society revealed that even home-made cloth face masks reduce the transmission of COVID-19.
Where to Buy Face Masks for COVID-19
Since the initial surge of COVID-19 worldwide, demand for N95 and surgical-mask protection has exploded. Not only are everyday consumers struggling to find the best face masks – professionals are out of luck too. Many essential workers and nurses don’t have a sufficient supply.
In an environment where people are struggling to figure out where to buy face masks, countless companies are stepping up. There are various online and offline retailers now popping up to mass-produce cloth masks to assist with reducing the spread of COVID-19. Fashion companies and other leading brands have begun introducing their own versions of face masks.
Although a tighter fit around the face offers greater protection, the CDC notes that any covering, including a bandana or a hand-made mask, is better than none.
One study in the US even revealed that certain household materials are more effective than others. Vacuum cleaner bags, quilter’s cotton, or masks made with multiple layers of material have the best particle-protection levels. The best home-made masks in this study achieved a 79% filtration level, compared to the N95 covers, which provide 97% filtration.
However, some home-made masks, particularly those made with thin-layer cotton, offered only around 1% filtration.
Make the Most of Your Face Masks
The key to getting the most out of any COVID-19 face masks is knowing how to use them correctly.
Remember to clean your hands thoroughly with soap and water before applying the mask and ensure there are no gaps between your mask and face.
When using cloth face masks to prevent COVID-19, ensure that you wash these masks regularly. Every time you use a cloth mask, it needs to go through the washing machine.
The good news is that as more companies invest in tools to create their face masks, the supply is growing. Face coverings are now available from online retail giants like Amazon and from local pharmacies.
There are also various videos available online demonstrating how to make your reusable mask.
If you do make your own mask, aim to use multiple layers of material. This will help to reduce the number of particles that can get into and out of the mask.
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