Wearing a mask in public places was already a thing way back before the COVID-19 pandemic. But since the pandemic extended its reach in all parts of the globe, almost everyone is forced to wear a face mask to prevent getting infected by the virus. And now that the cases continue to decline, people with face masks are still a common sight in public places across the United States.
After repeated lockdowns, the mandatory wearing of face masks has become optional because governments are aiming to restore their respective nations’ economies. However, in some cases, staying in enclosed spaces such as office, restaurant, or church may still require wearing face masks.
Why Wear Face Masks?
Face masks help prevent the spread of viruses, particularly the COVID-19 virus. It should properly be worn covering both the nose and mouth to protect oneself from getting infected.
When To Wear Face Mask
Although face masks are now optional in some places, it is still best to equip yourself with all the possible protections against the virus. Knowing the risk level of COVID-19 in communities may help people distinguish whether they need to wear face masks or not.
Types of Face Masks to Use Indoors
Cloth masks are made from different kinds of fabrics. There are various cloth masks in the market that serves not only protection but also for aesthetic purposes. Anyone wearing cloth a mask must ensure that it fits their nose, mouth, and chin to avoid leaks.
Don’t use a cloth mask when:
- It has spaces between the face and nose areas.
- It has exhalation valves, vents, or other openings.
- It is made out of thin fabrics.
Procedural masks, or also known as surgical masks, are abundant in the market. A person can wear this mask as long as it fits in their nose, mouth, and chin. It has multiple layers, and a wire in the nose area.
Don’t use a procedural mask when:
- There are spaces between the nose and face of the person.
- It is made out of wet or dirty materials.
While some are fine with wearing masks, other opt to use a filtering facepiece or respirators.
These are made to protect people from inhaling hazardous atmosphere by filtering the air. It also provides better protection against airborne viruses, but makes breathing less comfortable.
Common examples of respirators are N95 and KN95 which are usually disposable.
The most common types of respirates are the following:
This mask is the standard respirator in China. This mask is known to filter 95% of tiny particles. The Chinese government mandates that for a mask to be approved as a KN95 mask, it must pass a rigorous fit test on actual people with a leakage rate of no more than 8%.
This respirator also has a strict requirement for pressure drop while inhaling and exhaling. That means they’re required to be breathable.
In terms of availability, KN95 is far more available for average consumption because it does not need to pass the NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) standards for face masks.
This mask is the standard respirator in the United States. This mask, just like KN95 captures 95% of tiny particles.
One of the few differences of the mentioned respirators are the pressure drop while inhaling and exhaling. N95 has stricter requirements for production, which is an indicator that they are more breathable and efficient than KN95.
N95 needs to pass the standard of NIOSH, making them an ideal mask for healthcare professionals.
Other types of respirators include:
- DS2 (Japan)
- FFP2 (Europe)
- P2 (Australia)
Are there Any Alternatives for Face Mask?
People can always choose wearing face masks either outside or inside an enclosed space. It is a matter of awareness within the community and health protocols that can make someone feel more secured. However, for those who are already sick of wearing face masks inside enclosed spaces, household and establishment owners can use air purifiers to stay safe from various pollutants in the air.
Some studies prove that having air purifiers lessen the chance for enclosed spaces to be easily infected with viruses such as the COVID-19.
With the ongoing global health crisis, it is vital for health institutions to raise their standards in producing generations of competitive healthcare professionals. Martinson College was established to be an integral part of the industry’s current crusade to enhance the standards of some of the healthcare workers in the healthcare facilities across the globe, especially in the United States.
Their mission is particularly to raise the standard of healthcare industry by providing individuals with the proper skills and training to perform highly critical tasks, such as decontamination and disinfecting different medical instruments.
Read More: Sterile Processing Technicians: What Do They Wear at Work?