There has been much debate as to whether wearing a face mask provides real protection against Coronavirus. As well as who should wear a one, and what type provides the best protection. At the beginning of the outbreak, the medical community was firmly against the general population wearing medical-grade facial protection.
However, this view has changed with government and other regulatory authorities citing that it is mandatory in all medical settings. This includes all medical personnel, caregivers, and essential workers. Currently, the recommendation is that most everyone wears this type of protection when in public. But, many people are asking, does a face mask protect you from Coronavirus? Here is what the experts say:
Protection Against Coronavirus
A medical face mask is intended to filter particulate matter and microbes such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other tiny molecules called pathogens. These pathogens cause illness and disease. How effective a face mask is at performing this function depends largely on the size of the molecule of the microbe as well as its filtering capabilities.
The Coronavirus molecule ranges from 60nm (nanometers) to 140nm in diameter or 0.6 to 0.14 microns. This is incredibly small but not as small as some other particulate matter out there. The filtration properties of most masks are much larger than the size of the Coronavirus molecules. Products that are N95 or N95 equivalent can filter particles as small as 0.3 microns.
Coronavirus does not travel independently and relies on moisture as a vehicle to spread. This moisture is in the form of saliva, nasal mucous, and other moisture that the human body creates. This moisture, carrying the Coronavirus particles cannot pass through the filtering mechanism of a face mask therefore effectively blocking the virus.
properties. Most people do not have access to the N95 face masks used by medical providers, however, filters are available that can be placed inside face masks that have the same filtering capabilities as the N95 face mask.
To use a filter, place it inside of a reusable cloth face mask. While the filters themselves are disposable, there are CDC guidelines on reuse after contamination. These filters have provided a much more cost-effective and beneficial alternative to the N95 face mask, making effective filtration of the Coronavirus available to everyone.
How do You Wear A Face Mask?
Another area of debate regarding face masks is the correct way to wear and use them. The first recommendation is that they should only be handled by the straps. The front or inside of the face-covering should never be touched, especially after it has been worn. Once on the face, do not touch or adjust the covering. If you touch your face mask, it is critical to wash your hands or sanitize immediately. Touching the covering can increase the spread of Coronavirus.
Face protection should fit securely over the face leaving no gaps around the facial area. Gaps will allow the Coronavirus particles to enter, rendering it ineffective. The mask should never be pulled down under the chin but should always cover the entire mouth and nose.
After use of a disposable mask, it should be disposed of or washed immediately. The filter of a reusable face covering should either be disposed of immediately after use or decontaminated for reuse if necessary. The recommendation is that disposable products be worn once and properly disposed of. This is the same for filters, however as stated, the CDC has provided guidelines on decontamination and reuse in the case of shortages.
It is also not recommended to wear a face mask for an extended period. Once the face mask starts feeling moist or damp, it should be changed out for a new one. The same face covering should not be worn for a period of more than 4 to 8 hours depending on the type. The same applies to filters placed inside face coverings. This rate of time is different for N95 and N95 equivalent products due to the effectiveness of the material filtration.
Who Should Wear A Face Mask?
Anyone who is at high risk of exposure to the Coronavirus should wear a face mask with maximum filtering capabilities. This includes medical personnel such as doctors and nurses as well as caregivers providing for the needs of those who have contracted the virus. Any person who has tested positive for Coronavirus, is exhibiting symptoms, or is in a public setting should wear a face mask to help prevent the spread of the disease to those around them.
How is a Mask Constructed?
A face mask usually has 3 layers an inner layer, outer layer, and center layer. The outer layer is there to prevent particles from entering the mask. The inner layer prevents particles from escaping the mask. The center layer provides additional filtration protection. A filter usually fulfills the role of the center or inner layer of the mask to prevent an infected person from spreading the virus. It is imperative to use your face mask correctly as explained above.
It is also important to note that many people who have become infected with the virus, especially those in younger age groups, remain asymptomatic. This means that even though they display no symptoms of having contracted the virus, they can still infect others. Wearing protective coverings can help to prevent this.
The Ongoing Debate of Virus Protection
Despite the ongoing debate as to the effectiveness of face masks to prevent the spread of Coronavirus, many governments across the world have instituted regulations that every person should wear a face mask when out in public or when coming into contact with others. Research has shown that these regulations have been effective at reducing the spread of the virus.
While wearing a face mask is a valuable tool in the protection against infection, there are additional steps that help. Practices such as social distancing, washing hands, and sanitizing surfaces regularly in combination with wearing a face mask are the most effective means of protection against Covid-19.
In closing, evidence shows that wearing a mask is effective and is a choice that each individual should consider. Filti face masks, face mask material, and face mask inserts are engineered using our patent-pending nanofiber technology which captures up to 95% of all airborne particles that come through the mask. This includes things such as viruses, bacteria, and sneeze nuclei.
Our products are N95 equivalent and capture even the smallest particulates at 0.3 microns At Filti, we believe that everyone should have an affordable option to protect themselves. For more information on our face mask products visit our store. Breathe in the Good and Filter out the Bad!