• Erin DeBiasse

How to Know Which Face Mask is Right for You

To say that we are living in a time of chaos and confusion is a massive understatement. Educating yourself on what the differences are between various facial masks is a great step on the path to keeping yourself (and others) safe during Covid-19. We are going to look at the three most common types of masks so you can decide which one is the best for you and your family. The most popular types of facial coverings to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus are N95 masks, 3-ply disposable masks, and cloth masks. Which mask is the best for you?

N95 Masks

N95 masks filter 95% of airborne particles and are approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. If fit to the user correctly, these masks are the most effective in filtering particles--better than 3-ply disposable masks and cloth masks. Unfortunately, N95 masks are still in short supply for healthcare workers, first responders, and other essential members of society. For this reason, it is best to not purchase N95 masks at this time. There is an alternative mask called KN95. The KN95 mask averages around $1 to $6 depending on the quantity purchased. Other effective options are the 3-ply disposable masks or cloth masks.

3-Ply Disposable Masks

3-ply disposable surgical masks are made of an outer layer of non-woven fabric, a middle layer of a filter fabric, and an inner layer made of a soft and gentle facial tissue. These types of masks are fluid resistant and provide protection against large droplets of potentially harmful fluids. These are also an extremely affordable option, as they are disposable and easily made. They can be as low as $0.50 per mask and are often sold in cartons of 100 masks. The affordability factor of these masks has some tradeoffs as well when compared to cloth facial coverings, which can be much more comfortable and aesthetically pleasing.

Fabric Masks

The type of mask that is seen most often nowadays is a cloth facial covering. They are mostly dual-layered cloth masks and are sufficient to protect people in public if precautions are still maintained. Some manufactures are making three and four layered masks for additional protection. Depending on the materials used to make the masks and the number of layers used, you can expect to pay between $4 and $10 per mask. They are also more eco-friendly than disposable masks but should be washed regularly as they can carry particles home with you.

Though wearing a mask may convey a sense of security, they are not 100% effective, so social distancing and frequent hand washing is necessary. When constructed properly, though less effective than medical-grade alternatives, research shows that they are far better than wearing no mask at all. Staying up to date with updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, washing your hands, sanitizing surfaces and purchasing the appropriate mask for your needs are just a few of the ways that you can stay healthy during this pandemic. Contact us for further information on how to protect yourself and your employees!

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