Coronavirus (CoVid-19) pre-symptomatic carriers can still infect other people despite showing no symptom. So, an easy approach to reduce coronavirus transmission is to wear face masks on public areas. To back this up, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that wearing face masks in public areas showed a noticeable reduction in the spread of coronavirus (CoVid-19).
Nevertheless, different types of face masks entail different level of protection. Below, we break down the 3 most common types face mask and how they protect the wearer.
1. Cloth face masks:
Cloth (also called fabric) face masks block droplets that are discharged when the wearer of the mask sneezes, talks, or coughs. Aside from the fact that cloth face mask provides additional protection from viruses, they are also easily available, and can be reused by washing. However, it is critical for the person wearing the mask to abstain from touching their mask. It is imperative to disinfect or wash their hands if they do touch their mask. To add, if dirt and moisture develop on the cloth face mask, it is crucial to shift to a clean one. It is important to note that cloth face mask should not be shared.
2. Surgical face masks:
Surgical face masks (or medical face masks) are disposable and typically baggy. These type of face mask protect the nose and mouth against droplets that could infect the wearer. Additionally, these face mask are specially made to protect the wearer from droplets that could penetrate the mouth or nose area. Surgical face mask can also remove huge particles in the air, and can assure the wearer that droplets do not penetrate. Do note, however, that these type of face mask are single-use only.
3. N-95 face masks:
N-95 face masks present a higher level of protection than surgical face mask or cloth face mask since these type of face mask can prevent not only small but also large particles when the person wearing the mask inhales. N-95 face mask got its name because these face masks work by blocking out 95 percent of particles that come across our face. Despite that, Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) advised the public to judiciously use these masks since N-95 face masks are typically reserved for our health care workers and front liners.
Aside from that, N-95 face masks are incompatible to children. N-95 face masks are usually fitted for the wearer. Similar to surgical face masks, N-95 face masks are single-use only.
4. Valved face masks:
Valve face masks are easier to breath in and out but provides significantly lower protection for the people around the wearer of the mask. Due to that, several medical facilities around the country have banned the use of valve face masks. While these type of face mask provides good protection for the wearer, valve face mask offers little to no protection for the people around the wearer because of the one-way nature of the valves attached to valve face mask. This means that if the wearer is a carrier of coronavirus (Covid-19), whether symptomatic or asymptomatic, they could still spread the virus around other people.
To sum things up, the major reason for wearing a mask is to reduce the chances of spreading the virus hence, it is recommended to use a cheap surgical mask rather than use a valve face mask.