COVID-19, the respiratory illness that comes from the coronavirus, spreads through respiratory droplets when a person coughs, sneezes, or touches their face after coming into contact with a contaminated object. The half-face mask and respirators can protect against contracting COVID-19, but certain masks are more effective than others.
What are the different types of half-face masks, which ones offer the most protection,
and how do you wear them properly? Keep reading to learn all, about half-face masks in the age of the novel coronavirus.
Related: Facts About COVID-19
There are three main types of half-face masks, each providing different benefits and offering various levels of protection:
Cloth masks are made from common fabrics and materials. The most significant benefit of these half-face masks is the widespread access to them; they are cheap and easy to make and have a large supply available. Cloth masks are also washable and reusable.
Cloth half-face masks are more effective at halting the spread of COVID-19 than preventing the wearer from contracting the virus, mainly because of the thin materials used in their construction.
When worn while practicing social distancing, cloth half-face masks provide a minimum protection level, but they are more effective than not wearing any covering.
Surgical masks, or medical masks, are the next step up from their cloth counterparts. They are loose-fitting and disposable.
Surgical half-face masks protect the wearer’s mouth and nose from coming into contact with splashes, sprays, and droplets that may contain the virus’s germs. These masks also filter out the larger particles found in the air.
Medical half-face masks provide a minimum level of protection for the wearer and the people around them by reducing their respiratory secretions exposure.
N95 and N99 half-face masks are actually a type of respirator, and they offer much more protection than the other options. These masks filter out small and large particles when the wearer inhales, and, as the name suggests, N95 and N99 masks filter out 95% and 99% of small particles, respectively.
N95 and N99 masks are designed to be disposable, but there are ways to disinfect and decontaminate them to get more than one use from them. These masks offer a tighter fit and a substantially higher level of protection than any other face mask.
How do N95 and N99 antiviral face masks help protect you? Find out how Bielcor keeps you safe.
How much protection do the different types of masks offer their wearer?
- Cloth: Cloth provides a minimal level of protection against COVID-19, but they are decently effective at minimizing the virus’s spread. They are only recommended for use in public settings, along with social distancing and proper hygiene.
- Surgical: Surgical masks provide about the same amount of protection as cloth ones. They help to prevent the spread of the coronavirus but don’t offer much protection to the wearer because of the air leakage that occurs through the sides.
- N95 vs N99: N95 and N99 respirators are the most effective option to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. They protect against much smaller respiratory droplets with their tight fit and seal.
Related: What Do N95 Masks Protect Against?
When wearing an N95 or N99 mask the high level of protection that they offer is dependent on wearing and using it correctly. Here’s how you can ensure that you are receiving the maximum amount of protection from your respirator:
The most important thing to do when donning an N95 or N99 half-face mask is to make sure that you fit it to your face properly. Here’s how to do it:
- Before putting the half-face mask on, clean your hands thoroughly.
- Hold the mask in front of you and spread out the folds by pulling the top and bottom apart.
- Place over your nose and mouth, and then mold the hard section around your nose to get a snug fit.
- Adjust the top and bottom straps for a tight and comfortable fit above your ears and below your nose, respectively.
Once you have the half-face mask appropriately situated, it’s time to conduct an air leak test.
After you have your N95 or N99 mask sitting snugly across your face, inhale deeply and then hold it for a few seconds. If you have an airtight fit, the half-face mask will press into your face due to the vacuum created when taking a breath.
If you find an air leak, readjust your respirator and perform the test again until you get an airtight seal.
Related: How N95 Fit Testing Works
Every time you put a half-face mask on, it’s important to check for any imperfections. The protection you receive is only as good as the quality of the half-face mask, which is why it’s crucial to get your N95 and N99 respirators from a reputable source.
Before wearing, always check that the straps are secure and that there are no cracks or other defects in the mask. Don’t forget to check for air leaks before heading out.
Choose for Maximum Protection
Any type of half-face mask provides more protection than nothing, but to ensure the protection of you and your community, choosing the right mask makes all the difference. Keep yourself and your friends, family, and coworkers safe with N95 masks and N99 masks; they are the most effective face-covering option to protect against COVID-19.
Are you looking for the best N95 and N99 masks to keep you and your loved ones safe? Bielcor prides itself on producing the highest-quality half-face masks around.