When it comes to conversations about stemming the tide of the COVID-19 virus one thing is for sure face coverings will be a way of life for quite some time. With the growing debate over the most effective ways to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 selecting the right face mask may bring us one step closer to keeping our families and communities safe.
Here is a quick look at protective face masks that may be right for you.
- N95 masks, as their name suggests block 95 percent of overall particles according to the Food and Drug Administration and the CDC.
- These masks are designed to seal tightly around the nose and mouth an important feature in blocking particle and aerosol entry.
- N95 masks are classified as filtering facepiece respirators (FFR) by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.
- It is recommended that the should be discarded after each encounter with blood, respiratory or nasal secretions and other bodily fluids.
- In April 2020 the FDA approved KN95 masks for healthcare and medical use.
- Also called medical masks, a surgical mask is a tight-fitting disposable mask that protects the wearer's nose and mouth from contact with droplets, splashes and sprays that may contain germs.
- A surgical mask also filters out large particles in the air.
- Surgical masks may protect others by reducing exposure to the saliva and respiratory secretions of the mask wearer.
- At this time, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved any type of surgical mask specifically for protection against the COVID-19 virus, but these masks may provide some protection when N95 masks are not available.
Cloth Face Masks
- While regarded as the least effective in stopping the transmission of COVID-19 cloth masks are widely available, a DIY project and are reusable.
- Although cloth masks, surgical masks a and N95 all aide in slowing the spread of COVID-19, a cloth mask like a surgical mask is worn to help protect others from contracting the virus from the wearer.
- An N95 mask helps protect the wearer from getting the virus from others.
- Materials used to make cloth face masks range from cotton, bandanas, t-shirts and other fabrics.
- It has been suggested that if available a filter can be used for further protection.
Plastic Face Shield
- Plastic Face Shields are widely used in hospital and medical facilities to protect nurses and doctors who are in close contact with COVID-19 patients.
- There is a growing debate as to whether these protective masks could be used on a daily basis by individuals.
- Although healthcare workers often wear plastic face shields in conjunction with surgical masks some are asking if the masks might offer better protection from, splatter, spit, and aerosol spray from sneezing, coughing and talking.
- Plastic face shields that cover the entire face protects the eyes, nose and mouth from splatter and aerosol contact.
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