Vitality

5 Things To Consider When Choosing A Face Mask Amid Pandemic

We cannot stay holed up in our homes all the time. At some point, we may have to go outside, at least either to buy groceries or to go to the doctor. Of course, this requires wearing some form of cloth-based face covering before leaving the house, and for a good reason. According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, between 25 and 50 percent of people can be infectious and spread COVID-19 without symptoms. That is because the virus is easily transmitted through respiratory droplets by either speaking, laughing, coughing or sneezing. 

A cloth-based face mask may not be a guaranteed form of protection from the coronavirus but it is better than having nothing worn over your nose and mouth at all. It is also important in practicing social distancing, especially when combined with staying at least 6 feet away from other people and proper hand hygiene. Although good face masks are now in demand, it is difficult to know what qualities to look out for when searching for one. Here are 5 science-based things for you to consider when choosing a mask amid the coronavirus pandemic, courtesy of WebMD:

Fabric

When choosing a face mask, make sure that it has at least two layers of a tightly-woven cotton fabric. Also, look out for a high thread count since it acts as a filter that blocks respiratory droplets while still allowing you to breathe comfortably.

Filter 

Some face masks will have some space to slip a filter in for additional protection. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends adding coffee filters to homemade masks. Online, there are many homemade filter options available, ranging from cutouts made from reusable, polypropylene nonwoven fiber-based fabric grocery bags to those made of nylon fabric from pantyhoses, denim and kitchen towels, among others.

Do note that there is no scientific evidence yet suggesting that filters are good so it is critical to use common sense. Always consider safety and usability before adding a filter. A filter should not only be dense enough to block tiny and moist particles, but also allows you to breathe comfortably. Check if that filter might cause you to breathe something harmful. For example, some HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters can have fiberglass, which is dangerous to inhale. What is important is you do your own research to stay updated.

Fit 

Make sure that you can breathe comfortably while wearing your mask so you do not have to slip it off to take a breath while in public. 
The face mask must have a snug fit from your nose to under the chin and behind towards your ears. It has little to no effect if there are gaps that allow the air in. Fortunately, there are masks available that come in various sizes. 

Do not fiddle with your mask, for example if it is stiff, to avoid potentially contaminating your fingers touching its outside layer. If you feel like you cannot breathe comfortably with your mask, discontinue use. Instead, consult your doctor about other face covering options. 

Ease Of Use 

The face mask you like is only as good as how it should be used. Ensure that you easily untie or remove the loops from your face and pull the mask away from your face without being contaminated by touching the front part of the mask. Avoid infinity scarves since they are difficult to cleanly take on and off. 

Plan your outings knowing that you should not repeatedly slip your mask on and off to eat or talk on the phone. A face mask may negatively affect your outdoor exercise especially if you are breathing hard, so choose your location carefully to make sure you maintain physical distancing from others and be safe.

Durability 

You will need to wash your cloth mask after each use so it is a must to check on customer review online that comment on the mask's wear and tear. The face mask is useless if it loses shape. If you are adding a filter, cleaning your mask will depend on the filter you are using. A coffee filter, for example, should be thrown away after use. The mask's fabric should also be pre-washed so you do not have to worry about shrinkage.

Face Mask and COVID-19 Health authorities recommend that people wear face masks or coverings when going outside amid the COVID-19 pandemic to help reduce the risk of contracting or spreading the coronavirus. Pixabay

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