Medical masks are used during surgery or for medical procedures to prevent the spread of respiratory diseases. In the wake of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the demand for masks has increased significantly. Masks are one of the many ways to prevent the spread of the virus. There are many types available, and many people are asking what is the best mask for coronavirus to keep themselves safe.
Uses of a Face Mask
Face masks are loose-fitting protective coverings that have ear loops or ties or bands connected covering the nose and mouth. They help to limit the spread of germs or viruses. Face masks prevent the spread of diseases when someone talks, coughs, or sneezes. They can also protect the wearer’s nose from splashes of body fluids. They can be used for protection from someone with a cold that is not covering the nose.
Types of Masks
There are various types of face masks available, and each has its benefits. The CDC and WHO have approved the following face masks:
- Basic face masks
- Surgical face masks
- N95 respirators
- Gas masks
- Full-length face shields
- Full-face KN95 respirators
- Self-contained breathing apparatuses
- Filtering facepiece respirators
- Surgeon Masks
These devices are also referred to as surgical masks and are made of thin disposable material. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, they were most commonly used by surgeons. However, they are now one of the best masks for coronavirus. Surgical masks can reduce the transmission of multiple viruses that are transmitted through respiratory droplets and smaller aerosols. Surgeon mask varieties come with different thicknesses that offer varying levels of protection from fluids.
Surgical masks should not be shared and should be disposed of after use. Users are advised to wash their hands before and after they use a mask to prevent the spread of germs. In addition, the masks should not be touched while they are on the face.
- Cloth Face Masks
Cloth face masks have become common among the general public recently after the coronavirus outbreak. The most commonly used material for these types of masks is cotton. It offers over 80% filter efficiency against particles.
One of the most important advantages of cloth face masks is the ability to be reused. This makes them economical and fairly affordable. They can also be made at home and customized to the user’s preference.
Cloth dust masks are used to provide protection from non-toxic dust particles. They are mostly used during construction or while performing cleaning activities.
Cloth medical face masks are mostly used by health care workers to protect against germs and viruses. They are very comfortable and lighter than respirators. There is a debate between face masks and respirators where people argue which one is best for protection.
Respirators offer protection against chemicals in vapors while cloth masks only offer protection against dust particles. Generally speaking, cloth masks provide a lower level of respiratory protection compared to respirators.
- Best Cloth Face Masks
A cloth face mask has filters that improve its efficiency in protecting the user against germs. The World Health Organization recommends that they have three layers of different materials. These include two spun-bond polypropylene layers that provide proper filtration and breathability. The value of facial cloth masks is measured in breathability and the filtration efficiency of the material.
- Mask Bandanas
A bandana is a triangular or square piece of cloth that is tied around the head, face, or neck for decorative or protective purposes. Mask bandanas are now being used in the fight against the coronavirus. They are made using rubber bands and hair ties. They are easy to make and offer great economic value.
Mask bandanas are used just like a face mask covering nose and mouth to prevent respiratory illness such as a common cold. Someone with a cold that is not covering the nose can spread the cold to someone not wearing a mask.
A ski bandanas mask is usually worn to protect the mouth and nose. They have become popular, especially among celebrities, during this coronavirus period. Gas mask bandanas are also popular, and they are ideal for going out in public and avoiding the spread of coronavirus. They have been uniquely designed and customized to mimic actual face masks. A ski bandanas mask and gas mask bandanas offer a lower level of protection against viruses but are still recommended to curb the spread.
The general public does not commonly wear respirators. They are reserved for health care workers and medical first responders. They are scarce in supply, and people who are not in the health care sector are encouraged not to buy respirators to reserve them for those who need them. They include:
- N95 respirators
- Filtering facepiece respirators
- P100 respirator masks
- Full-face respirators
N95 respirators have a very close facial fit and offer more efficiency in filtering airborne particles. They have edges that form a seal around the nose and mouth. There are various similarities and some differences between respirators and masks. They are both efficient in filtration and fluid resistance. They are also similar in that they should not be shared or re-used.
Difference Between Respirator and Mask
Face masks have a loose fitting between the mouth and nose while respirators form a tight seal around the nose and mouth. Respirators offer more efficiency in the filtration of airborne particles than face masks.
Respirators are not designed for children or people with facial hair. People with chronic respiratory, cardiac, or medical conditions can have breathing difficulties due to their tight fit.
Dust Mask vs. Respirator
Some people may confuse dust masks and respirators. If you are considering a dust mask vs. respirator, here are a few similarities and differences to think about. Dust masks are made of a flexible paper that is held over the nose and mouth by rubber straps. They have a flexible aluminum strip around the nose to provide a tight fit.
Dust masks are usually used in construction sites or in air-polluted environments. They also protect from allergens such as grass pollen. Respirators, on the other hand, offer more protection against airborne particles.
The use of both dust masks and respirators is encouraged in the fight against COVID-19. They can be used to prevent the spread of the virus. Some respirators have coating technologies to reduce or kill microorganisms.
They can also be customized to prevent specific diseases or infections. Others are labeled to represent their function, such as filtering specific amounts of smoke or killing viruses and bacteria. Neither dust masks nor respirators are washable or reusable.
What Is a Procedure Mask?
Different procedures require proper attire while performing them. Health care workers are required to wear certain protective gear, such as boots, gloves, masks, and goggles while undertaking medical procedures.
So, what is a procedure mask? These are face masks worn by health professionals during certain health care procedures. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, these masks have become more common than usual.
Procedure masks are used to capture microorganisms shed in liquid droplets and aerosols from the mouth and nose. They also lower the risk of infection among health care workers.
Patients undergoing the procedures are also protected from the risk of wound infections after surgery. Health care workers are advised to use face-fit tested procedure masks to lower the exposure to potential infectious airborne droplets.
Wear a Mask
Face masks have become a common commodity during the coronavirus pandemic. Whether you are in the health care sector or a member of the public, wearing a face mask is a top priority. There are many types of masks in the market, and each has its own value.
TopLine MD affiliated providers’ priority is providing high-quality care that is simple and convenient. Contact your provider for advice on face mask selection and use.