An unexpected change in every aspect of our lives has been a constant ever since the Covid-19 pandemic has hit the world. Work-life, social life, academic life it has all changed and taken up existence is nothing more than virtual form. Staying indoors unless absolutely necessary to leave the house, thorough sanitisation of objects and hands, proper hygiene practices, social distancing and using a mask to step out are quite literally the only ways you can protect yourself and those around you. The importance of these safety measures cannot be stressed enough, especially the usage of a face mask.
Since research has shown that virus particles tend to stay in the air for extended periods of time, a mask is the only way to prevent yourself from getting infected. A face mask is made with technology that filters the air particles before they can come in contact with you. Ever since these safety guidelines have been put into place, “what is the most effective mask” has been a common query due to the different types available in the market. It is only natural that one would want to get the best ones, so here’s a quick guide to different mask types and their effectiveness:
- Cloth Mask: Back at the beginning of this pandemic, cloth masks made out of cotton fabrics or old, used t-shirts were widely considered effective, but with an increase in the spread of coronavirus, this has changed. Cloth masks, especially single-layered ones, are not recommended as they are not very effective at filtration and prevention of transmission.
- N95, KN95 or N99 Mask: An N95 or KN95 mask is a filtering facepiece respirator that is said to filter 95% of virus particles in the air. Similarly, masks ending with a 99 are said to have a 99% efficacy against the virus. These are typically meant to have a close facial fit and are said to be very effective, especially for use in crowded spaces.
- Surgical Mask: Surgical masks are loose-fitting and cover the nose, mouth and chin. These are made of polypropylene material, which is quite effective at the filtration of larger droplets and also is quite breathable. Compared to cloth masks, these are much more effective at preventing transmission from one infected person to the other.
- Valved vs Non-Valved Face Mask: Many face masks currently available in the markets have a built-in plastic valve at one side of it. This is meant to make breathing more comfortable, but many types of research have shown a valve negates the efficacy of the ask. While it does make the face mask easier to breathe, it also allows air to escape unfiltered, proving counterproductive to its very cause; non-valved masks, on the other hand, provide full coverage and are definitely more effective than valved ones.
Not taking matters that could put you as well as people around you at risk is very important. These trying times call for careful following of safety measures, and step one is getting yourself an effective mask without stepping out from platforms like Myntra. Stay indoors and stay safe.