What Is The Best Type of Face Mask To Wear Indoors?
With the ever increasing cases of COVID-19 cases across the United States, the Centers for Disease Control as of December 4, 2020, is recommending that face masks be worn indoors in all situations except when at home. With cases and hospitalizations rapidly rising across all 50 states, the CDC is now recommending universal face mask use in all situations outside of the home.
We are now beginning to understand how COVID-19 is primarily spread from person to person - through respiratory droplets. These droplets become airborne when someone coughs, sneezes, talks, shouts or signs. These droplets can then land in the mouths or noses of people nearby. Masks can provide a simple barrier for your respiratory droplets from reaching others. Several large scientific studies have shown that COVID-19 can spread from people who never develop symptoms - asymptomatic - and those who are not yet showing systems, pre-symptomatic. The main function of wearing a mask is to protect yourself and others from the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus.
Types of Disposable Masks Available
N95 Respirator Masks
The N95 mask can provide the best protection, and when used properly, will filter out at least 95% of infectious particles. It is important to note that all N95 must be approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, a part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that certifies masks for industrial uses.
Please ensure that your model is listed in the CDC’s NIOSH-Approved N95 Particulate Filtering Facepiece Respirators Database. Many masks sold online through Amazon, eBay, or other websites will falsely claim that their masks have NIOSH approval.
These masks should be used in high-risk settings such as grocery stores, restaurants, barbershops, and nail salons. The Department of Homeland Security has published instructions online on disinfecting and reusing N95 masks that can extend their life.
Surgical masks, also called medical masks, are a loose-fitting disposable mask that can protect the wearer from contact with droplets, splashes and sprays that may contain germs in addition to filtering out large particles in the air. Surgical face masks are rated by ASTM International, a global organization responsible for developing and publishing the technical standards across a variety of products, materials, systems and services. They are responsible for developing the ASTM F2100-11 standard. Since 2012, this has been the standard rating system used to rate surgical face masks (on a level system between ASTM Level 1, 2, 3). While these surgical masks may look similar to masks you can find at pharmacies and retailers, it is important to look at the description of these masks. Surgical masks will be labeled as surgical masks and not as dust or allergens face masks.
Proper Guidelines On Wearing A Mask
Please follow these easy to follow steps to ensure you are correctly wearing your facemask:
- Wash your hands before and after touching the mask
- Touch only the bands or ties when putting on and taking off your mask
- Make sure the mask fits to cover your nose, mouth and chin. If you adjust the mask to cover those areas, wash your hands before and after
- Make sure you can breathe and talk comfortably through your mask
- DO NOT wear the mask under your chin with your nose and mouth exposed
- DO NOT leave your nose or mouth uncovered
- DO NOT remove your mask while in public areas
- DO NOT share your mask with anyone else