There are numerous types of face masks on the market, so here are the best ones to protect you and your family from COVID-19.
As you probably know quite well by now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and many other health experts, all advise wearing face masks to slow the spread of COVID-19.
When you head to the grocery store, work, the gym, or to get a haircut, you are careful to bring a mask with you and wear it continually.
You may have some cloth masks, one made from bandana material, a box of disposables from the store, and maybe a face shield.
Understandably, you may be wondering what the differences are between the masks in terms of their ability to help protect you from the coronavirus.
The Most Common Types Of Face Masks
As it turns out, face masks are not created equally. To determine which types of face masks are best and which you may want to avoid, consider the following:
Cowboys have traditionally worn bandanas over their faces for years to help keep dust out of their noses and mouths. So it makes sense that tying one around your face may help prevent COVID-19 from spreading.
Actually, this type of mask is not the greatest in terms of protection. Instead of droplets from a cough or sneeze traveling about eight feet, the bandana will reduce that to about four.
2. Homemade Cloth Masks
Your friend from high school is a talented seamstress, and she was happy to send you a number of cloth face masks that are well made, comfortable, and happen to have cute prints of dogs and cats all over them.
But as Health Grades notes, if these masks have only one layer of fabric, they may only provide 1 percent of particle filtration.
If it’s two layers and made of cotton, it can reduce the distance droplets spray from eight feet down to an impressive two-and-a-half inches.
As you can see, these masks vary widely in their ability to keep you safe. Go with masks made from densely woven cotton like the fabric you’d use to make quilts.
3. N95 And KN95 Masks
You may have heard of both N95 and KN95 face masks, and you might understandably wonder what the difference is between the two.
As KGW notes, both types are designed to filter out an impressive 95 percent of particles that reach the mask.
The key difference is that while the N95 masks are approved for health care settings, while the KN95s are not.
So unless you are working in health care and mainly need face masks for your gym workouts, ordering a latte at a coffee shop, and trips to the supermarket, the KN95 will be just fine.
Another plus is that the KN95s can be ordered in different colors. For instance, if you want a non-clinical look that is more stylish, you can opt for black KN95 face masks.
4. Face Shields
You may have seen people wearing face shields when out and about running errands and you may have one yourself.
These clear sheets of plastic hang down from a headband and cover the face from the top of the noggin to the chin.
As UMMS notes, these don’t provide the same level of protection as a mask because they don’t have any type of barrier to respiratory droplets, which can enter under the shield.
You could double up with the shield and a face mask if you are going to be really close to others for a long period of time.
But in most cases, the shields are not really recommended.
Mask Up And Stay Safe
Yes, wearing a mask is important right now, but it goes beyond merely placing it across your nose and mouth.
There is a definite difference in the ability of different types of face masks to keep you as safe as possible.
Having a stock of the KN95 masks on hand seems like the best bet, followed by a two-layer densely woven cloth mask.