We’ll walk you through the current studies on cloth face coverings or Masks to show you how to construct a mask collection that suits your needs, show you how to improve the masks you already have with a few affordable accessories, and explain how prioritising fit and comfort may lead to improved protection—for others and for yourself—in this guide.
More than a year after the coronavirus outbreak began, there is still a lot of misinformation about what form of facial covering is appropriate and how to wear one efficiently. Although medical-style masks are more widely available now than they were in the past, and they may provide better filtration than cloth masks, concerns with fit, comfort, counterfeits, and expense make cloth masks the preferred choice.
Any mask is preferable to none. However, as the most recent ASTM International standard demonstrates, certain solutions are better than others, especially when filter layers or surgical masks are added.
We engaged a variety of experts, ranging from fashion designers and textile experts to aerosol scientists and infectious-disease specialists, to home in on the little but critical design features that have a big impact on how a mask fits and feels, and, by extension, how it helps prevent viral transmission between people.
We couldn’t possibly discover the most effective mask for every person and circumstances because how effectively a single mask works for any one individual depends on a variety of elements (the size of a person’s head and facial features, their actions, and the environment). However, scientific filtration-efficiency and breathability testing, as well as detailed reporting, real-world fit and comfort testing, and scientific filtration-efficiency and breathability testing, we have a few recommendations.
These selections are multi-adjustable and, when worn properly, can filter airborne particles better than most fabric masks while being comfortable to wear. All of them contain pockets for an extra layer of filter and can be worn over a surgical mask.
The N-95 Mask
Most cotton face masks aren’t nearly as effective at preventing virus-sized particles as properly fitting N95 respirators, which front-line health-care workers rely on to provide safe treatment to their patients. N95 masks are designed to prevent particles, particularly virus-sized particles, from being inhaled.
They’re made of a special polymer that filters out at least 95 percent of airborne particles smaller than 0.3 micron, and they’re designed to suit the curves of your face without gaping. The fibres of a N95 respirator mask are electrostatic and nonwoven (haphazardly organised), making particle penetration more difficult.
The CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has approved N95 masks, and they have unique identifying numbers imprinted on them that can be verified on the agency’s website.
Most people, understandably, would want a mask that fits like a glove, catches all incoming and outgoing viruses, allows you to breathe freely, and feels as if it isn’t even there. That mask, unfortunately, does not exist. Choosing a fabric face mask is a compromise exercise.
So, What to consider when buying a cloth face mask?
The fundamentals of a face covering are fairly simple. According to Robin Patel, past president of the American Society for Microbiology, “you want the mask to go over your nostrils and mouth in such a way that it doesn’t slip off.” Even a bandana over your neck is preferable to nothing.
Even a bandana over your neck is preferable to nothing. However, if you want to provide the most protection to others and, most likely, yourself, you should go with something more solid. According to a June 2020 study, when you cough without a mask on, aerosols can travel up to 8 feet from your mouth.
The investigators discovered that when you tie on that bandana, outbound aerosols only get as far as 3 feet 7 inches on average. If you wear a well-fitting two-layer quilting-cotton mask, the drops will cease at 212 inches on average.
Although some masks filter better than others, a mask won’t help if it keeps falling down your nose or if it feels so stifling that you have to remove it. Focus on fit and comfort while looking for the ideal mask for you, and protection should come second (assuming you wear it properly, of course, and also practise social distancing whenever possible)