Around the planet, many countries have made it compulsory for all citizens to use face masks in public, ever since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The disease caused by the novel coronavirus is spread from one person to another by means of respiratory droplets such as spit, phlegm, saliva, and mucus. These droplets are produced during exhalation and can be spread every time a person sneezes, coughs, or even talks.
Face masks vary widely in terms of thickness, layers, fabric, and design. There is much debate in the public sphere about what types of masks are the most effective at preventing the spread of the coronavirus, and what the best ways are to manufacture them at scale. Ideally, medical professionals suggest that some form of facial covering should always be worn in public areas where the risk of widespread community transmission is high.
Alice Simniceanu, a WHO official specializing in the domain of infection control and prevention, told Al Jazeera in July: “The main mode of transmission of coronavirus is through respiratory droplets, so the use of face masks is one of the tools we can use to help stop the spread of COVID-19.”
For the best results, however, one must be careful to choose a high-quality face-mask designed and manufactured by a trusted producer of medical supplies. For most laymen (and women), making the right choice can prove difficult. Therefore, we have compiled a list of four essential features that you should definitely look for when buying a mask to keep COVID-19 at bay.
Features of a High-Quality Face-Mask
Research has shown time and again that face masks are an effective way of preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus within a community. Therefore, choosing the right mask for this purpose is important for the health of all members of the community. Some features to look for, when making the purchase, are as follows.
One of the first things to consider when buying a face mask for COVID-19 protection is the type of material that was used to manufacture the mask. In other words, if the quality of the base material is not top-notch, then the effectiveness of the mask might be compromised within days of usage.
Ideally, a soft, breathable fabric such as cotton or linen should be used to make the face mask. The best masks are made from advanced environmental non-woven fabrics which are durable and breathable. For added protection, you might also want to check if the mask is moisture-proof and made from safe, eco friendly raw materials.
According to healthcare professionals, the highest quality face masks have at least a three-layer protection to prevent the penetration of any respiratory droplets. A multilayer construction minimizes the risk of infection by a significant margin. The outer and inner layers typically comprise spunbonded, non-woven fabrics.
The middle layer, on the other hand, is responsible for the primary process filtration and should therefore have a high bacterial filtration efficiency or BFE. An average rate of 95 percent particle filtration or more would be considered ideal by most physicians. To date, the N95 face masks worn by surgeons and other healthcare professionals have been known to have the highest filtration capacity of all.
The application range of a face mask essentially defines the types of situations in which the product will be usable and functional. The best face masks have a wide application range and are ideal for travel, outdoor work, as well as domestic usage when you have visitors or outsiders of any kind in the house.
Depending on the kinds of tasks you usually undertake, you can buy face masks designed for pet grooming, gardening work, industrial production work, travel, kitchen cleaning, as well as sporting activities. Because your requirements and routine can change from time to time, it is best to buy a high-quality mask with as wide an application range as possible.
When buying a face mask, one of the first decisions you’ll have to make is whether you want a single-use disposable mask or a more durable one that can be used over and over again. Single-use masks do have their benefits, as they are typically cheaper and do not require regular maintenance and sanitizing.
However, most healthcare workers nowadays recommend a more durable face mask as these are better for the environment. Durable masks generate much less waste than disposable ones and are usually made from superior quality, biodegradable materials. While they might be more expensive upfront, durable masks are cost-effective in the long run as they don’t need to be constantly replaced. Athletic masks are reusable and are the perfect everyday mask.
For the best results, when buying a face mask for yourself or your loved ones, you should ensure that the product was manufactured by a reputed brand or company. This will help you choose masks that have been carefully designed and made from the highest quality materials, so that they offer the maximum filtration capacity and durability.
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