Do Cloth Face Masks Work?
The SARS-CoV-2 virus (Covid-19) is mainly spread via water droplets. Albeit cloth face masks are not fully effective as a form of barrier, they can reduce the droplet’s travel distance to a few inches. Imagine when someone sneezes, how far droplets travel if not covered, then you can compare how face masks would help mitigate the spread.
Cloth face masks won’t protect us from inhaling the virus; rather, they can stop us from spreading it. Since not everyone shows symptoms when contracted with the virus, having an extra layer of preventive measure greatly helps.
What to Look For in a Good Cloth Mask
According to scientists, you don’t need to wear an N95 respirator to protect yourself. However, you do need to make some considerations when selecting the right cloth face mask.
Go For Masks With 3 Filter Layers
You will definitely need a mask that has two interwoven layers of external material with a filtering fabric in the middle—whether a medical face mask, a vacuum bag, or coffee filter.
Choose the Ones With a Flexible Material
Find a mask that is made of securely woven material that will hold on to your face, or else, there’ll be gaps. If the mask has a metal prong at the nose, even better. This is similar to surgical face masks.
Opt For Ties Instead of Ear Loops
With ties, you will have a better control with the mask’s contour and fit if it’s secured to your head or not. There will be larger gaps at the sides of your face if you’re using a mask with ear loops. Not to mention, it can cause headaches and can hurt your ear with long durations of use.
Pros of Wearing Cloth Masks
Since N95 masks are highly effective at preventing the spread of the virus, they are usually intended for frontline and healthcare workers. These masks are also often in short supply.
Cloth masks, on the other hand, have proven to be a good alternative. When partnered with social distancing, you will have great protection against the virus. They are also readily available for purchase from companies, like DEXCON.
Cloth masks are washable and reusable, in contrast with disposable face masks, which need to be thrown in the trash bin after every use. According to a study, cloth masks help trap respiratory droplets whenever you cough, sneeze or talk. This way, you are helping to lessen the spread of the virus. You are also helping to keep your community safe by wearing a mask.
Cons of Using Cloth Masks
Most natural fibres in which cloth masks are made, are hydrophilic in nature, resulting in parts of aerosol getting absorbed when in contact with these fibres. Therefore, it is advised to keep your hands away from touching the upper part of the mask without sanitizing or washing your hands. For SMMS, SMS or similar filter fabrics, hydrophobic fibres, such as polypropylene and polyesters are utilised. So, there’s minimal chance of the fabrics absorbing.
When it comes to filtration, the cloth masks can filter out particles of 6 μm diameter and higher, effectively. However, together with filtration; comfortability and breathability are essential aspects while wearing your face mask. In contrast to N95 masks, these have better filtration effectiveness for 3 μm particles, enhancing your breathability because they come with valves.
In case you’re wondering, N95 can’t prevent the complete spread of the virus, rather it can slow down droplet transmission.
*The human droplet size ranges from 5 μm to 1000 μm. The SARS-CoV-2 virus droplet diameter varies from 0.06-0.15 μm. Making N95 masks better in terms of filtration efficiencies for particles of 3 μm diameter size.
How to Properly Wear a Cloth Mask
The CDC or Centres for Disease Control and Prevention provides various helpful tips on how you should wear your face mask. These are:
It’s always important to wash your cloth mask either by hand or washing machine. The CDC recommends washing it after every use.
Proof For Masks’ Effectiveness
Masks are small but mighty. They help protect those around you. The Covid-19 spreads from one person to another via respiratory droplets. These droplets will then transmit into the air the moment you sneeze, talk, shout, sing, or cough. These droplets will land in people’s noses or mouths who are near you or perhaps breathe them in.
Additionally, masks are barriers that help prevent droplets from transmitting to others. According to studies, masks minimise droplet sprays when worn properly. So, you need to wear a mask even if you’re feeling well. As per medical professionals, people who are asymptomatic (do not show symptoms), and those who are not yet showing early signs and symptoms can still spread the virus. Therefore, wearing a mask can help save lives.
Moreover, wearing masks is highly essential when you are indoors, most especially when you’re with people and can’t stay at least 6 feet apart. Remember that Covid-19 spreads mainly among those who are in close contact with each other.
High-Quality Face Masks
If you’re looking for good-quality face masks in Australia, Dexcon is your go-to provider. We offer our services for PPE procurement solutions during a global pandemic. We are the global distributors for various PPE and medical devices manufactured both in Australia and around the world. Our vision is to create a sustainable service that will combine both great service and ethical pricing. For more details about our services, visit our page.
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