There are several varieties of masks, respirators, and face coverings that we are learning more and more about as this pandemic continues. Several have been shown to only be a tiny bit better than not wearing a mask at all, but there are also ones that rise above the rest in terms of quality and availability. Wearing a mask is one of the easiest and simplest ways to prevent the spread of Coronavirus, flatten the curve, and help out as many people as possible.
You should always wear a mask when you enter a public space, like a restaurant or store, and make sure to keep it on whenever possible, such as whenever you get up from the table to go to the restroom or to leave. Wearing a bandana or a t-shirt around your face and nose, are not nearly as effective and should always be used as a last resort. Always try to wear a face mask, such as a surgical mask or the N95 respiratory mask. Surgical masks are now common enough to buy in bulks of ten in convenience stores nationwide. N95s are harder to find, as most are needed by emergency workers, hospital staff, and patients. These masks are the best for filtering out air particulates and preventing the spread of disease.
Why are N95 masks the best at what they do? They were designed as a conical bowl that fits easily over the mouth and nostrils, with a metal band at the top to clasp onto the bridge of the nose.. Most N95s come with a filter cap, which can be used to increase airflow, though at the loss of the filtration system. The filtration is one of the best available. N95s are called such because they filter out 95% of all particles that pass through the heavy fabric and respiratory filter. There are higher grade masks, but offer the best combination of filtration and breathability. Surgical masks are great for preventing air particles from leaving a doctor’s mouth during surgery, but regular day to day use for possibly several hours is not their primary purpose. N95 masks on the other hand can be worn much longer. While one use only, the same as surgical masks, these masks help doctors, nurses and emergency workers get through the day working with patients who may or may not be infected with Covid-19.
Having a large supply of these masks for medical and healthcare workers is important for our nation’s continued stability and to help the prevention of loss of life. If you can, donate some from American manufacturers that are popping up all over the U.S.A., making N95s, surgical masks, and other important PPE. The only way we will be able to get through this is together. Each person must do their part, no matter how large or small. We can do the hard thing, cover our faces and Mask Up!