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7 Things You Need To Know About Face Masks

by Gaurav Gupta

Covid 19 pandemic necessitated the use of face masks. Further, with the spread of the Omicron variant, there have been reconsiderations regarding the choice of masks. While all kinds of masks provide some protection, you must know what suits your needs and ensure maximum protection. So, whether you are looking for a surgical cloth or a p2 face mask online, you need to have all the information within your reach.  Check the following section for the details.

What type of face mask should you wear?

Face masks can be surgical, cloth or a respirator like N95 or P2. A mask should fit securely around the face and cover the mouth and nose. Some jurisdictions also specify cloth masks to be made of at least two or more layers of fabric. Also, face shields, snoods, bandanas and scarves do not fall under face masks.

What are P2 or N95 masks?

P2 or N95 masks are respirators that filter out particulate matter. They effectively prevent the spread of disease by catching and containing droplets you sneeze, cough or breathe. P2 masks, when worn correctly, are capable of filtering 95 per cent of airborne particles.

However, P2 masks have more uses than that. You can buy a p2 face mask online to protect yourself against smog, smoke or poor air quality.

What are surgical masks?

Surgical masks are primarily used for medical purposes and require disposal after a single use. These masks provide adequate protection from droplets creating a barrier between your mouth and nose and the droplets. Surgical masks are available in different levels, with increasing levels offering better protection.

What are cloth masks?

Cloth masks are non-medical masks that can be reused and washed. These masks can prevent the release of respiratory droplets when you sneeze, cough, talk and breathe or inhale droplets from other people.

Ideally, you should get cloth masks with three layers of fabric, and there should not be gaps between the mask and your face.

Can you reuse P2 or N95 masks?

P2 or N95 masks are meant for one-time use. However, some experts recommend reusing these masks at most five times.

You can buy about seven P2 masks online and rotate them daily, which may cause the bacteria within them to become inactive.

Should you layer your masks?

CDC suggests that an individual can wear a surgical mask underneath a cloth mask. But you can wear only one surgical mask at a time. Also, you should never combine other masks with P2 or N95.

Ideally, you should wear a single mask that fits you properly rather than opting for double masking.

Also, when considering layering with cloth masks, ensure you put them on and take off correctly and wash them regularly. If you wear surgical masks, don’t reuse them beyond the recommended time. 

What face masks should you avoid?

If getting protection against the transmission of diseases is your priority, you should not opt for a face shield as it does not offer enough protection against aerosol spray and droplets.

Also, don’t use particulate respirators for dust masks with 1-way valves as they allow particles to pass through the hole.

You should immediately discard masks with holes or loosened elastic hoops that don’t fit perfectly around your nose and mouth.   

You can get various masks online and pick the one that meets your needs. Making your masks can also be a viable option. But you must be mindful of the choice of materials, thickness and care. Also, you should know the right time to discard your masks; otherwise, you will defeat the purpose of wearing them in the first place.    

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