What Are The Best Masks For Coronavirus?

by Kevin Gaertner June 01, 2020

Best Face Masks For Coronavirus


With so many options available, how do you know which are the best face masks for coronavirus? We’ve created a roundup of the top COVID-19 masks and filters for the public based on your lifestyle and activities.

Continue reading to understand the importance of everyone doing their part in wearing face masks, and which are the best face mask choices for the public.

Are masks effective against coronavirus?

Yes, especially with so many asymptomatic or presymptomatic carriers. In The BMJ, doctor Babak Javid explains that “mathematical models suggest that 40-80% of transmission events occur from people who are presymptomatic or asymptomatic.”

By masking up even when you feel healthy, you prevent spreading possibly infected droplets to the people around you, in case you are carrying the virus without knowing it. That’s why the CDC advises everyone wear cloth face coverings in public to prevent droplet spread. If you interact with the public, it’s important to wear the best face masks for coronavirus protection.

Masks also protect you against coronavirus by stopping you from touching your face. If you’ve come into contact with a surface contaminated by the virus, touching your face increases the odds that you’ll infect yourself before washing your hands.

The last way masks protect against coronavirus is by creating a social and societal norm that takes the stigma out of masking up. Those who need masks the most, like the sick or vulnerable, are less likely to wear them if they worry they’ll be shunned when wearing face masks. By normalizing mask use in the United States, we can help everyone feel more comfortable wearing them in public.

What are the best face masks for coronavirus protection?

So what masks are best for coronavirus? With such a huge variety of face masks available, how can you know which mask is right for you? In our effort to develop the best face masks for the public possible, we researched all of the options to help show you which mask fits best for your circumstances. Let’s start by going over the different kinds of face masks you might see.

Face Mask Styles

Cloth masks

Cloth face masks are easy to find online, such as our line that is produced entirely in the USA. Durable and easy to clean, cloth face masks are designed to be reusable — as long as you properly care for them. Professionally-made cloth masks are also comfortable for long term wear.

In general, the CDC recommends everyone wear cloth face masks since they are a proven way to provide some level of defense against infecting others should you be sick. They are not perfect or as specialized as others as we’ll get into, however they do provide a barrier against yourself and others. Cloth fabrics are also better at capturing droplets than other fabrics which allow more air and moisture to pass through.

For those who need to take extra precautions, cloth masks can also have filters and inserts added. These filters act as additional layers against moisture and droplets since they are made out of specialized materials other than cloth or cotton. Even with filters included in cloth masks, they are not fully protective due to the fact that they are not airtight or intended to filter extremely small particles.

We’ll describe more about the various filter options below, but with or without a filter, cloth masks save medical-grade masks for those on the front lines. That’s another reason why the CDC recommends everyone wear cloth face coverings in public.

Homemade masks

If you know how to sew, or have a friend who does, homemade face masks are another popular option. Even during lockdowns, certain fabrics are easily accessible. Bed sheets, pillowcases, shirts, and other items you already have can be turned into a simple homemade mask. Many free patterns and tutorials for face masks are available online.

However, homemade masks are often not the best fit or comfort for long term wear, especially if you’re not an advanced sewer. A good fit contributes to the amount of droplet spread that can be contained by your cloth mask. Generally speaking homemade masks provide additional precautions against droplet spread in a similar fashion to professionally made cloth masks, but the materials and fit of homemade masks often make them less than ideal.

Surgical masks

Disposable surgical masks are made out of paper with an internal polypropylene layer and are designed for one-time use. Surgical masks should be reserved for medical personnel, who need to be able to frequently dispose of their face masks to prevent spreading infection.

If you’re thinking of buying a box of surgical masks anyway, you should know that they are not much more effective than a cloth mask when it comes to guarding against coronavirus. The main issue being that they are not airtight like cloth masks. Unless you are sick or directly caring for someone who is, you should donate any single-use surgical masks at home to a hospital or other medical facility.

Surgical Masks

N95 respirators

The most effective option for coronavirus prevention should be reserved for medical personnel. Certified N95 respirators get their name because they can filter out 95% of the particles between 100 to 300 nanometers (nm) in size. Since the coronavirus particle is estimated to be 125 nm in diameter, N95 respirators are the safest option for medical personnel working directly with infected patients.

N95 respirators must meet rigorous filtration standards set by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). N95 respirators are difficult for the public to wear properly without proper training. In the study described in this link, only 13% of participants correctly put on an N95 mask, even when given instructions.

Some of these respirators have valves that allow exhaled air to escape, making it easier for the user to breathe. However, the downside of this is that other people are susceptible to the particles and pathogens that are exhaled through these valves.

In short, you should save N95 masks for medical professionals. If you want more protection than a cloth mask provides, you should instead consider using a mask with a filter.

What masks are best for occasional errands?

If you are sheltering in place and only leave your house for the occasional errand, a simple cloth face mask will probably meet your needs.

Professionally made masks are available in a wide range of styles. Our line of made in the USA face masks include over 50 designs in two sizes.

If you know how to sew, you can make your own reusable face masks. Cotton mix fabrics, such as those used for quilting, are available in a wide range of colors and patterns. You can also repurpose old clothing or pillow cases. WebMD offers some guidelines for choosing fabric for a homemade mask.

Designs For Face Masks

What masks are best for essential employees?

If you are an essential frontline worker, you’re likely wearing your face mask for hours at a time. Cloth face masks with filters and inserts offer extra barriers against droplets to essential employees, especially those who interact with the public.

When interacting with others, it’s important to do all you can to improve your risk reduction and customers’ exposure to you. A face mask with a filter can do both.

Wearing masks with filters or a polypropylene barrier against moisture can help reduce the amount of droplet spread that gets exhaled or inhaled. This means you’re less likely to breathe in infected particles, and much less likely to spread them to the people around you.

If you work outside or in settings with additional dust or airborne particles, a PM 2.5 filter is the most practical choice. In addition to offering an added layer to your mask, these filters will protect you from seasonal allergens or pollutants such as smog or smoke.

What mask options are there for active people?

During exercise, it’s especially important that your face mask doesn’t impede your air flow. For that reason, cloth masks and neck gaiters are the best options during exercise.

Cloth masks without a filter work well when you’re staying active. Our Basic Face Mask only has two layers of fabric, making them more lightweight. A mask like ours with with over-the-head
elastic will stay secured while running, biking, or hiking. They are less likely to fall off than a mask made with earloops.

Neck gaiters use stretchy fabric made into a large sleeve that is intended to go around your neck and head. Since they can cover your face and nose, they offer a lightweight face covering option during exercise. A neck gaiter will stay in place even during strenuous activity since it doesn’t rely on straps or elastic loops.

Together Apart

Should I wear a face mask in the community to prevent COVID-19?

Yes, you should mask up whenever you go out in public.

One of the dangers of coronavirus is that huge numbers of asymptomatic carriers can transmit the virus without ever knowing they are infected. Maybe you are an asymptomatic carrier, or maybe the guy behind you in the checkout line is. Either way, masks can help slow the spread of coronavirus in your community.

While cloth masks aren’t 100% effective, the evidence is clear that they do help slow the spread of COVID-19. In this article for The BMJ, Dr. Babak Javid explains that cloth masks are only marginally less effective than surgical masks, and “fivefold more effective than not wearing masks.”

As states begin to reopen and public spaces become more crowded, wearing masks is more important than ever. Not only do masks help to protect from transmission by droplet spread, they can also help to change attitudes around mask use. As more people mask up, face masks are becoming more socially acceptable. This will encourage more people to wear them.

By wearing a face mask, you are doing your part to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Face mask handling & washing tips.

Any time you wear a face mask in public, you should assume that it may be contaminated with coronavirus particles. Healthine offers a number of tips for safe face mask handling, but here is a quick guide to handling your face mask.

Remove your mask by touching the straps or the elastic ear loops, not the front of the mask. You should always wash or sanitize your hands after handling a used face mask, or before handling a clean one. Protect clean face masks in your purse or car by storing them in a zip-top plastic bag or similar container.

As soon as possible after wearing, clean your face mask using the following three steps:

  1. Wash your face mask using hot water and regular detergent.
  2. Use the high heat setting on your dryer to help kill any remaining germs or virus particles on your mask.
  3. Remember to remove any filters before laundering your masks!

You can learn more ins and outs of face mask care from our previous article on how to clean your face masks.

How To Clean Your Face Mask

In summary.

The research is clear that face masks play an important role in reducing the spread of COVID-19. Since surgical masks and N95 filters must be reserved for medical professionals, we should all be opting for cloth face masks when we go out in public.

A simple cloth mask will probably suffice for most people sheltering in place during the pandemic. Reusable cloth masks are available in a wide range of styles, from fun to functional Our collection offers 50+ designs in two different sizes. If you’re handy with a needle and thread, you can also make your own face mask for occasional errands.

Essential workers or high-risk individuals may want to consider cloth masks with a filter pocket for more robust prevention against coronavirus. One option is PM 2.5 filters, like the ones we carry for our collection of masks with filter pockets. Since these filters are designed to protect against air pollution or allergens, they are a great option for anyone working outside or in areas with poor air quality. Polypropylene inserts, like our moisture barrier inserts, offer an additional advanced layer against droplet spread. This makes them an excellent choice for those who work with the public or who wear their masks for a long period. Homemade filters are also an option for those wearing DIY masks.

Whichever mask is right for you, make sure you take care of it by following safe handling guidelines and washing it after every wearing. When you put on a face mask, you’re showing that you care about the safety of those around you. Thank you for doing your part.

 

 

Still have questions?

Read The 411 on Face Masks, or contact our sales and support team to help. Contact us here




Kevin Gaertner
Kevin Gaertner

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Sizing

Face Masks 

Adult Standard Adult Small
5" x 9"
Fits most male adults.
4.5" x 8"
Fits most women and young adults.

 

Neck Gaiters 

Regular Small
9.5” x 14”
Fits most men and those with larger heads.
8.5" x 14"
Fits most women and kids.

 

Neckties

Widths

Skinny Knotty Classic
2.25" wide 2.75" wide 3.5" wide


Lengths

Standard Long Extra-Long
58" long 62" long 66" long

 
Kids

Youth Self-Tied
52" long
Ages 10+

  

Bow Ties 

Adult Kids Pre-Tied Baby Pre-Tied
Self-tied style
Adjustable for necks 14-18"
Ages 2 and over
Adjustable velcro closure
Ages 2 and under
Adjustable velcro closure