The Covid-19 pandemic requires the constant wearing of masks. It is recommended to always wear a mask as it is not a substitute for other necessary measures. It is especially important when in a crowded area such that observing the required social distancing measures is not practical. Yet not all masks meet the requirements. As research is ongoing on the efficacy of masks there are certain attributes that make a mask suitable for use. The following are the necessary features of a quality mask:
- Masks that fit properly without gaps on the side
- A good mask should be breathable such that moisture does not collect inside the mask
- Masks should have an inner layer of material that can absorb water such as cotton
Cotton also allows for breathability. Synthetic materials are not recommended as they are not 3 dimensional in structure. Cotton and cotton blends are ideal fabrics for masks.
- They should also have an outer layer of material such as polypropylene that is nonwoven enhancing the filtration of droplets and also providing adequate blocking.
- Masks with pockets that filter are ideal. Polypropylene is recommended as a filter as it produces a static charge that repels particles.
- The mask should fit properly. This is to apply adequate pressure for sealing purposes. The mask should also seal properly around the mouth, nose, and chin.
- They should also be made of tightly woven fabric such that light cannot pass through
- Masks that are made of stretchable fabrics are not ideal and if they are covered in wax or other compounds that can block airflow
- A good mask should have 2-3 layers.
Ensure that your hands are clean before wearing a mask and keep your masks clean. If it is a disposable mask, dispose it immediately and if it is a reusable mask you can store it in a well-ventilated area. Do not touch the front of your mask when you are wearing it as it is a potential mode of transmission. Do not wear a mask for too long and discard it as soon it gets damaged or if it appears worn out or holes have developed. Below are the comparison of cloth mask, KN95 and N95 mask to decide which one you should use during the pandemic.
Most people want to wear masks that are affordable and that they can reuse. Cloth masks are the most ideal. There are also stylish cloths that are being worn as a fashion statement or to express individuality. Yet the question is what makes a good cloth mask? A good cloth mask adequately protects the wearer from dust and air particles. It should also be durable such that it can be rewashed and worn again. Reusable cloth masks are ideal because they are readily available and are cost efficient. Many people are making masks from the comfort of their homes; from durable absorbent materials. These masks are comfortable to wear on a day to day basis. The challenge however is how effective they are. They have to seal correctly in order to protect the wearer from respiratory droplets, bacteria, and germs, in the atmosphere. Cloth masks should be washed after wearing and damp masks should be disposed of. The problem with cloth masks is that they might not meet the recommended standards as they might not have filters or the necessary structure such as pleats and folds to allow for proper circulation of air.
The KN95 Mask
This mask is effective as it filters 95% of tiny particles. This respirator is certified in China and is also recommended by international certification bodies. A lot of consumers are buying the N95 mask and it is also being worn by medical personnel as recommended during shortages of the N95 mask.
What is the difference then between the two masks? The KN95 and N95 have the same standards in terms of filtration. It is recommended that the N95 be disposed of after use. The KN95 on the other hand can be reused more before disposal hence a more economical option. In terms of comfortability, the KN95 is more comfortable to wear. You must ensure to choose the right size of kn95 mask or any other mask to get the maximum protection.
What are the Features of The KN95 mask?
The KN95 is highly effective in combating Covid-19. It has high filtration efficiency, minimal leakages and it seals well. The masks are packed in well-sealed packages and they also have the following properties:
• A 5-layer protection
• Skin friendly
• 3 D foldable design
• Easy to wear
• A resealable bag
• An adjustable nose bridge that allows for proper sealing and that ensures comfort
A quality mask is not enough to protect from the virus as close contact with both symptomatic and asymptomatic carriers can spread the virus. However, in public settings where social distancing is not possible the KN95 is recommended.
Covid-19 particles hang in the air for about 3 hours. The reusable N95 respirator mask offers up to 95% protection against air particles, dust, and tiny droplets. You can use the N95 mask for up to five times. Always do a seal check to ensure that your mask fits properly with each re use.
N95 masks are effective in containing respiratory droplets. They are used by medical personnel and frontline health workers because of their high efficacy and are therefore not always in constant supply and cost more than surgical masks.
Why is the N95 mask the most ideal for Covid-19?
Two main reasons:
• It has six layers. The inner layer is made of cotton. It also has four nonwoven filtration layers.
• It offers adequate protection against aerosols and respiratory droplets and is reusable.
There are various masks that are adequate and that are recommended yet it is important to emphasize that fit, fabric, absorbency, and comfortability are key. A mask that does not seal well will not be efficient and comfy. N95 masks might not be readily available due to shortages as suppliers need to regulate to avoid acute shortages, yet they are the most efficient in the fight against the Covid pandemic. As social distancing continues it is best that people continue wearing masks especially where social distancing is impossible.