Medical facemasks have been used as a protective barrier to disease, viruses and colds for centuries. With so many questions today over the effectiveness of masks and their ability to protect us against the coronavirus, history has shown us that in pandemic times, we turn to masks not only for protection, but also unity. With government mandates set to last a while and a plethora of mask choice; from high fashion to high tech, they look set to be around for a while.
We thought we would sift through all the debate, information and even misinformation to create a guide to the best protective masks and the types to avoid.
Should we wear a mask?
It is now well known that the coronavirus is spread through the air, especially in indoor spaces. As a result of increased knowledge about the transmission of the virus a growing body of research indicates that wearing masks – even if they’re not closely fitted or medical grade – can slow the spread of viral loads by up to 80 per cent. And as a result of this increased knowledge, we have seen a progressive mandatory ruling in favour of wearing them.
Which mask is best?
Some masks work better to help stop the spread of COVID-19 outside of healthcare settings.
Non-medical disposable masks.
Although we prefer the reusable more environmentally friendly solutions.
Masks that fit.
Ensure they fit snugly around the nose and chin with no large gaps for the virus to escape. There are many masks for sale on the market that will be a bad fit and as a result will let air particles in and out. As a result, they will only be marginally better than wearing no mask at all. It is worth investing in a mask that fit properly.
The Fabric matters.
Masks made with breathable fabric (such as cotton) and ensure the mask is made with tightly woven fabric. A good test is to hold your mask up to a light source and little light or no light should pass through)
Cotton Homemade mask.
In a recent test by Which who put the UK government’s simple homemade face covering pattern to the test, showed that a homemade mask made with tightly woven cotton is an effective option: it filtered 73% of particles before washing and an impressive 81% after five washes – and was still easy to breathe through.
Masks with 2-3 layers are better than one as a protective barrier.
These give you the opportunity to add in another protective layer into the mask to ensure the mask doesn’t get saturated and less effective. These masks are better for those that will need to wear one for long periods of time.
Face covering durability.
Masks that will survive multiple washes and uses. We think this is important to safe waste and the ever growing mask to landfill issues.