To slow the spread of the coronavirus, the CDC has advised that we all wear masks when we’re outside of the house. But what kinds of masks should we be wearing? If you’ve done any research at all, then you know there’s a few different types of face masks floating around. Surgical, cloth, N95–what’s what, and which one should we wear?
Here’s the Quick Answer: At this time, cloth masks are what the CDC recommends. If you can’t get your hands on a cloth mask, then a surgical mask is certainly better than no mask at all.
Read on to learn more about these 3 types of masks.
According to recent studies, cloth masks offer the most protection against the spread of the covid-19 virus. This is because cloth masks trap droplets when the wearer talks, coughs or sneezes. When shopping for face masks, Look for a tight weave of 100% cotton. Use the light test to check the weave: If you can easily see the outline of the individual fibers when you hold up the mask to the light, it’s not likely to be effective.
If you can’t get a cloth mask for some reason, then surgical masks are your second best option. In terms of protection, it is the cloth mask’s tighter fit and thread weave that elevates it above its surgical counterpart. Surgical masks are looser fitting and disposable. While they may not trap droplets as effectively as cloth masks, surgical masks do still offer some protection.
Actually a type of respirator, N95 masks are used most often in the healthcare industry. To use an N95 mask, you must be specially trained and pass a respirator fit test. Technically, N95 masks offer more protection to the wearer than surgical masks do; however, they don’t protect others from the wearer’s breath. For this reason, the N95 mask has been banned in some areas.