The face masks have become a significant part of our daily outfits because of this COVID-19 pandemic. At the early stage, people were a bit skeptical about its usage, and most of the healthcare units and government bodies were discouraging healthy people from wearing masks.
Previously, we were not sure about how much capability the best face mask was having to protect us from getting affected. But according to the official statement of WHO (World Health Organization) regarding these face masks, if 95% of the world’s population can manage to wear masks while going out in public places in these remaining months of 2020, a large number of deaths can be avoided automatically.
The best face masks
The top three types of masks which are being recommended by doctors all around the globe are:
- N95 Respirators- Typically, made of synthetic fibers such as polypropylene and polyester, these kind of one-time usable masks are tight-fitting and thus are capable of filtering at least 95 percent of airborne droplets and aerosols. Most of these masks come with a valve which makes it easier for us to breathe as the exhaled air and get out properly.
However, it is recommended to check the mask at least once a year so that it can fit the user’s face properly and cover the mouth and nose completely. Also, it is advisable to check if there is any air leakage in the mask or not at the time of buying it.
Make sure to check it from time to time so that the pathogens and harmful particles cannot harm the user by any means. But there is a major problem when it comes to N95 respirators, which is the elderly people find difficulty in breathing and might feel suffocated too because of its tight fittings even though valves are there for proper air passage.
In that case, even when N95 protects the best when compared to the other two types, the user needs to switch to some other mask after consulting a medical professional or doctor.
- Medical or Surgical Masks- These masks are made of two to three layers of breathable synthetic material that can filter airborne particles. However, the aerosols or harmful airy particles can flow inside it through its edges because of its loose-fitting type.
The filtration capability of these masks ranges from 20 to 95 percent depending on the texture, thickness of the material it is made of, and also the number of layers. These masks are available in a variety of types including single usage, disposable ones, etc. It comes in a rectangular shape with multiple small pleats that can expand easily to cover the mouth, nose, and jawline properly.
These masks are not really airtight ones unlike the N95 respirators and that is what makes it more apt for the senior citizens. It is much more comfortable and one can wear it for long hours as it does not really give that feeling of suffocation. If these medical graded masks can be used timely whenever you go out in public places, it will protect you efficiently. But that does not necessarily mean that you can ignore the other safety measures.
- Fabric Masks- With the rising demand for masks, most of the people have started making masks from their favorable cloth type at home. These are not really the same as the other two previous types. However, as these are homemade ones, it is not really that effective even when it can be the most comfortable one.
Tiny droplets can easily get inside through the pores of the fabric which makes it less useful than its other counterparts. The only advantage of these masks is that they can be washed at home easily and thus can be reused for quite some time. Even though it is comfortable and less effective, it can be used by the senior citizens easily if they are going somewhere where there is no such scope of community transmission.
After getting to know everything about these masks, it is clearly visible that each of them is differently useful or efficient for the senior citizen. However, N95 is the best one for them as it has the maximum ability to protect from aerosols and airborne particles.
Is it a must to wear a face mask?
According to WHO, it is better to wear a face mask whenever you are unable to maintain social distancing properly. If your area is having a higher rate of community-based transmission, make sure to wear a proper face mask whenever you are visiting a:
- Medicine shop
- Grocery store
- Hospital or healthcare units
- Job sites
But if you are prone to asthma or breathing problems, avoid wearing masks. Even though elderly people have more chances to get affected by COVID-19 as they have less immunity power and thus they suffer more than young citizens. Hence it is advisable to wear a mask whenever you are going out in a public place.
Besides, maintaining social distancing and sanitizing your hands from time to time, most of the health experts have recommended the usage of the best face mask for maximum protection. The COVID-19 is spreading rapidly and these are the only ways to save yourself from getting affected in this crucial time.