Types of Masks to choose from during the COVID-19 Pandemic

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Types of masks – A lot of people have been asking about the different type of masks for COVID – 19 that are safe to use during the current pandemic. It is important for you to recognize that the best way to prevent airborne transmission is to use a combination of interventions from across a hierarchy of controls and not just PPE alone.

types of masks

Types of Masks for COVID -19

In the current situation, with the unlock in process and the rising number of coronavirus cases in India, it has become important to inform you about the different types of masks for COVID and their uses.

Cloth Face Coverings – Types of masksCloth Face Coverings

There has been an acute shortage of masks supply in the market and a lack of protective gear over the past few weeks. This is why many people are turning to homemade masks made out of different fabrics like cloth or sponge. While homemade masks do not match the effectiveness, they are any day better than having nothing on hand to fight the spread of germs, especially during a pandemic like coronavirus.

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Homemade Types of Masks for COVID -19

Homemade masks are less protective than surgical or respirator masks. However, according to the CDC guidelines, using a homemade mask can help a person keep the face area clean and prevent the spread of germs and other contagious viruses.

These masks filter out about 50% of bacteria and dust pollutants. This is why sanitization and disinfecting are crucial steps to prevent and stop the spread of coronavirus. Using a homemade mask is a preventive mask that can come in handy but it should not be solely depended on as a form of defense.

Surgical Masks or 3 ply disposable masks – Types of masksSurgical Masks

Surgical masks are the most commonly available form of masks in the market. These masks are the ones that are slightly loose-fitted around the mouth. It is used to protect a person against large splashes of droplets, water, sprays, etc which are used in medical facilities. Since there are so popular and also cost-effective, they come in a variety of sizes, colours, and types.

While surgical masks do cover your mouth, they can’t fully protect you from catching or transmitting the coronavirus or any such microbe in the air, since it has loose gaps which can help the germs crawl in. Only a high-grade surgical mask can stop the transmission of different kinds of viruses (up to 80-90%), especially if used by a person who is sick.

This mask helps in preventing large particles, such as spit or mucous, from entering the environment. If the person who wears this mask coughs or sneezes, this mask will help in collecting the larger particles from expelling. However, if worn properly they are said to be quite effecting in holding away coronavirus.

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Some more types of Masks for COVID -19

N95 Respirators and FFP1N95 Respirators and FFP1

N95 respirator masks are being used to lessen the spread of coronavirus right now. This type of mask is slightly more tight-fitted and vague looking, which makes it a better alternative to surgical masks. Some of these masks also have an attachment called the exhalation valve, which can filter out humidity build-up. They also work extremely better in filtering out and stopping pollutants, viruses, and bacteria from entering the mouth or nasal passageway.

These masks are slightly more expensive and need to be fitted & tested beforehand, to make it work effectively. As compared to any other masks, N95 masks offer the highest level of protection.

FFP1 masks on the other hand is an alternative to N95 respiratory masks. While N95 masks safely filter out 95% of the pollutants, viruses, and tiny particles, an FFP1 mask protects a person from breathing in particles of even more hazardous quality. They are usually also more securely fitted around the nose and the mouth, to ensure that toxic or dangerous particles do not enter in.

Activated Carbon Masks – Types of masksActivated Carbon Masks

These masks contain an activated carbon filter which helps in collecting and filtering out the pollutants and germs to breathe in purer air. They work well in fighting pollution and tiny particles like bacteria and fungi that spread through the air. However, these masks don’t work exceptionally well in fighting or preventing viruses like COVID-19 from coming in contact. They can only trap a tiny number of viruses (10-20%) and thus, may not be the best choice right now.

In times of COVID-19 and the unlock, your safety is really in your own hands. As much as people advise to absolutely avoid stepping out of the house unless necessary, wearing a mask when you are out is a good measure. Take responsibility and makes sure you stay safe along with your family.

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