As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, there’s an ever-present concern to watch our health and that of our loved ones.
While social distancing can be helpful, there are things you can do to control what you’re exposed to daily.
One of the best examples of this is using face masks. Not only do face masks help protect your respiratory system from viral infections, but they also aid in protecting you against pollutants in the air.
So what kind of face masks are best for your health? Read on to learn more.
What You Should Know About Face Masks
Masking is the process of covering your mouth and nose to prevent you from inhaling things in the air. These masks prevent particles from entering your body during inhalation and contain the spread of disease as you sneeze and cough.
The medical community has strongly encouraged the public to wear masks as a preventative measure against COVID-19 in Australia and New Zealand, specifically in cluster areas such as public transport hubs, planes, airports, ride-share services, and indoor venues with over 1,000 people.
In addition, retail workers and front-facing staff are also required to wear masks and enforce COVID-19 preventative measures to curb the spread of the virus.
To help you, we’ve compiled a list of the kinds of masks and what different face mask options are available on the market.
What Kind of Face Masks Offer the Best Protection?
These are some of the best protective masks you can find online.
Disposable Surgical Masks
Disposable surgical masks offer surgical-grade protection in a non-odorous and non-allergenic package. They provide up to 12 hours of respiratory protection against solid and non-toxic liquid particles and are well-suited for patients with colds or allergies due to their easy breathing resistance.
Surgical masks can also protect against droplets of saliva and other fluids that could transmit contagious infections like COVID-19 or the flu. Due to its lightweight and flexible build without any of the stuffiness, this mask is ideal for people that get exposed to crowds of people regularly.
K95 masks have affordable and replaceable filters propped to provide near-maximum protection for wearers (99.99% against pm2.5 pollution). These masks are created with a lightweight 3D air mesh material that doesn’t sacrifice comfort for protection. These masks also have elastic ear loops that allow them to have an adaptive fit.
With different sizes, there are more options available for wearers to ensure a better fit. These masks are a great choice for those who get exposed to both pollutants from vehicular exhaust and clusters where the viral infection risk is high.
Washable Face Masks
Washable face masks are a great option for people who are exposed to COVID-19 risk on an everyday basis. It can be worn more than once, which means you can save money by not having to buy disposable ones every time.
Some of the washable face masks available are made with gentle and soft fabric, so you don’t have to worry about any itches or irritation in the skin. These masks are usually available in retail stores and online, so you can easily pick one up whenever you need to.
Browse for safe surgical masks and reusable face masks in NZ.
Reusable Face Mask
Other types of face masks include reusable masks made of cloth. Fashionable and often with special designs, these types of face masks can be used repeatedly, just needing a single wash before reuse.
These masks are safe against bacteria and viruses, offering close to the level of protection as disposable surgical masks. Some of the features these face masks have is an antimicrobial inner layer and a fine malleable wire at the nose to provide a snug and comfortable fit.
Note: Cloth masks may not be the most effective option to curb the spread of more contagious variants of COVID-19. Contact your doctor for up-to-date advice on the best practices for mask-wearing.
The standard N95 mask is made of a lightweight, pliable material that doesn’t restrict airflow or breathing. It is often used in medical settings and in healthcare facilities to prevent the spread of contagious diseases, making it an excellent choice for wear in indoor facilities and high-risk areas.
Many N95 masks also come with high-quality ear loop straps for better adjustment. These straps help to keep the mask firmly in place, which reduces the risk of exposure.
Choosing The Best Mask
K95 masks and disposable surgical masks offer the best protection.
Surgical masks are more comfortable and easy to breathe in. K95 masks can minimise the risk of viral spread best.
Regardless, all these masks have specific benefits, so it still boils down to personal preference depending on your lifestyle and risk exposure.
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