None of us ever imagined that one of our future never-leave-home-without-it accessories would be a face mask, but here we are. While we strive to keep ourselves and others protected during the COVID-19 crisis, masks are basic necessities, and most of us have at least a dozen of them scattered around our homes and cars.
We know that mask-wearing helps slow the spread of COVID-19, and retailers everywhere have risen to the occasion to make mask-wearing more popular. No matter what your interests or hobbies, you can probably find a mask that advertises them.
However, there is one mask trend that might actually be counterproductive in terms of containing germs and slowing the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Making DIY face masks was a necessity when masks were in short supply, but making them now could put you and your loved ones at risk.
- Do homemade face masks protect as well as commercially produced masks?
- What about filters? Do those make homemade masks more effective?
- What kind of masks does the CDC recommend?
We know this new mask-wearing landscape is confusing, but the team at Hope Health Supply has all the information you need to help you make informed decisions about making masks at home and/or buying premade masks.
We’ll talk about how masks offer protection to you and others, what makes masks effective, and how making your own face mask may not be as effective as you think.
Why Do I Need a Face Mask?
Along with social distancing and practicing proper hand hygiene, wearing a face mask significantly slows the spread of COVID-19, according to the CDC. The CDC recommends you wear a face covering at all times when you will be around persons other than those that live in your household.
Wearing a face mask protects more than just you; it protects others. COVID-19 spreads mostly via respiratory droplets expelled when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, or speaks. As such, covering noses and mouths is a great way to reduce the number of droplets that enter the surrounding air, potentially infecting other people.
Even if you are feeling well and are not concerned about becoming ill, you still need to wear a mask. Several studies have shown that it may be possible for you to spread the virus that causes COVID-19 to others before you begin feeling symptoms, or even if you are asymptomatic.
The takeaway: Always wear a mask when you’re in public, or around people who don’t live in your household.
What Types of Face Masks Does the CDC Recommend?
You’ve definitely got options when it comes to face masks. What was once a personal protective item worn only by those in the medical profession is now a virtual fashion trend, with masks available in a myriad of different colors, and so many different styles it can be hard to keep track of them all.
When considering what mask you should wear, the most important item on the agenda is effectiveness. Your mask may have your favorite sports team’s logo, but if it isn’t effective, it’s essentially pointless.
The CDC has recommendations for proper face coverings, including which types of face masks are most effective:
- Non-medical disposable masks. Non-medical grade disposable face masks are recommended by the CDC. It’s important to make sure your masks are made from material that is at least 2-ply, to ensure effectiveness.
Masks made with breathable fabric. It’s important your mask has enough fabric layers to ensure its effectiveness, but it’s equally important to make sure the fabric is breathable, so you can breathe comfortably while wearing your mask.
Never use a mask made of vinyl, plastic, or leather, as these may make it impossible to breathe correctly.
- Neck gaiters. You can use a neck gaiter to cover your nose and mouth as long as the fabric is double layered, or has been folded twice before covering your face.
- Masks with inner filter pockets. These types of masks have an inner pocket where a filter can be placed. Depending on the type of filter you choose, your mask may or may not be effective.
A Word About Medical and N95 Masks
Although we know that N95 and surgical masks are effective, the CDC encourages the non-medical community to avoid using them. Because supplies of these masks are limited, it is important they be made available to those who need them most; those in the medical profession.
If you’re still considering making your own mask, you should know the risks.
What’s Wrong With Making Your Own Face Mask With Filter?
As previously mentioned, making your own mask was a crucial part of slowing the spread and staying safe in early 2020, when commercially manufactured masks were in short supply.
DIY mask making, however, is fraught with problems that can render them ineffective if they aren’t made correctly:
Incorrect fit. The biggest issue with DIY masks is the fit. It can be nearly impossible to create a mask that fits correctly and adheres to the CDC’s mask fit guidelines.
A face mask should fit snugly and securely around your nose and mouth, and lay flat against your cheeks, over the bridge of your nose, and under your chin. Making a mask that fits correctly can be an impossible task, even when you follow a pattern perfectly .
- Improper fabric. You found a fabric that definitely says “you,” but if the fabric is too thickly or thinly woven, it won’t be effective. Knit fabrics, loosely woven textiles, or fabric that doesn’t allow you to breathe properly are all examples of incorrect fabric options.
- Less effective overall. Homemade masks are considered a “last resort” measure in terms of mask wearing. In fact, other commercially produced masks have been shown to be up to three times more effective than a homemade mask in terms of trapping respiratory droplets.
We know what you’re thinking: it’s nearly impossible to find masks and when you find them, they’re generally price gouged. We can help.
Where Can I Buy Effective Face Masks?
If the inability to find commercially made masks for a fair price has you considering trying out your sewing skills, we understand. We’ve been disheartened by consumer hoarding and price-gouging business practices we’ve seen throughout the pandemic.
Hope Health Supply offers non-medical masks, including KN95 masks, for a fair price that allows everyone access to the mask supplies they need to keep themselves and others safe.
The KN95 mask is a great option for a highly effective mask that provides comfort, protection, and breathability, while reserving surgical masks for medical professionals. Our KN95 masks are FDA-registered, made to industry standards, and have up to 95% filtration efficiency of non-oily suspended particles of 0.3 micron levels.
You simply can’t get that kind of protection from a DIY face mask with a filter.
In addition to the KN95, we also offer non-medical disposable masks that keep you comfortable while helping you do your part to slow the spread of COVID-19.
You can trust Hope Health Supply to deliver effective, high-quality, comfortable face masks to you at a price you can afford. Protect yourself, protect one another, and slow the spread.