The global pandemic has brought the world to an interesting stage. At present, prevention measures are the only way through which one can keep oneself safe. Such preventive measures include proper social distancing, constant use of sanitizers and face masks. Nowadays, masks have become an important part of our daily life.
With people now slowly returning to their respective jobs, masks have become essentially critical. Because of work, there are times when people, voluntarily or involuntarily, will have to ignore the social distancing protocols. Hence, masks are the only source of salvation.
However, most people get really confused when they have to decide which mask to choose. Some people choose to utilise a common face mask while others opt for an N95 respirator. But one must note that not all masks provide the same level of protection. Knowing the differences between is vital for fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.
And with WHO announcing that the virus has gone airborne, one must take note of these key differences. Thus, in order to dissipate the prevailing confusion, we will take a look at the masks that are effective against the virus. We will also discuss the key differences between them.
1. Face-cloth Mask
If you are looking for a cheap way to arm yourself against the virus, then facecloth masks are the best options for you. Facecloth mask are effective against the virus. Such masks are able to prevent droplet based infection. For those unaware, droplets come out of our mouth whenever we talk, sneeze or sing.
The Covid-19 virus is able to infect others through these droplets. Wearing a face mask prevents an individual from inhaling these droplets. It also works the other way around. If an individual suffering from Covid-19 is wearing a face mask, then the droplets that comes out of the mouth will get stuck on to the face mask and thereby preventing the disease from spreading.
An additional benefit of getting a facecloth mask is that these masks are highly customisable. If you are looking to flaunt your fashion sense, then fear not as facecloth masks allows you to do so.
You can get them order made from your local tailor. But remember to use three layers of cloth. This has been recommended by health agencies like WHO and ICMR. However, one must also note that facecloth masks do not provide protection against airborne particles. Thing like aerosols can get past through them. But if you are living in Silchar, then you can contact Feather Folk and get your facecloth mask custom made.
2. Surgical Masks
A surgical mask, which is also known as medical face mask, is designed to be worn by health officials during procedures such as an operation. These masks are designed to prevent infections in patients and the medical personnel. These masks tend to catch the bacteria that are shed in the form liquid droplets and aerosols that come out from the wearer’s mouth and nose.
These masks, however, are not designed to prevent the breathing in of airborne bacteria or viruses. However, circumstantial evidence has shown that these masks can filter out the viruses that are found on droplets. The surgical masks, because of their use and throw nature, tend to cost less.
Surgical masks tend to be made out of a nonwoven fabric. These are created by utilising a melt blowing process. The dark blue side of the mask is usually fluid-repellent layer. This side is to be worn outward. The white side is the absorbent layer and it is to be worn on the inside.
There is an argument that these masks provide better protection than N95 or FFP masks against some diseases like influenza. But this is not true as N95 or FFP masks have proven to be better suited for these purposes, according to lab experiments that is.
3. N95 Masks
N95 masks are better suited for protection against the virus. Yes, these masks are a bit costlier than facecloth and surgical masks. However, they provide better protection. These masks not only filter out the droplets, but also the aerosols. However, these masks do not provide protection against gases and vapours. So, don’t go into a war where opponents are going to use chemical-based weapons. War aside, these masks filter out most of the particles. There are three standards.
All these provided different layers of protection and filtration capacity. FFP1 standard means that the mask filters out at least 80% of the airborne particles and has a maximum inward leakage of 22%. Next is FFP2 standard. This mask filters out at least 94% of the airborne particles. It also has a maximum inward leakage of 8%.
The last standard is defined as FFP3. Masks, which conform to this standard, tend to filter out at least 99% of the airborne particles and have a maximum leakage of 2%. FFP1 masks tend to be yellow in colour. In contrast, FFP2 mask are either blue or white while FFP3 masks tend to be red in colour. As per recommendations by medical authorities, FFP2 and FFP3 masks provide best protection against Covid-19.