Masks & Coronavirus Protection: What To Know

by Kevin Gaertner May 27, 2020

Coronavirus Face Mask Protection


Anyone looking for a face mask has hundreds of options, from homemade masks fashioned from bandanas or paper towels, to our three lines of high-quality face masks made in the USA. But will a mask protect you from coronavirus?

Coronavirus mask protection can be a complicated subject. It takes time to weed through conflicting sources on the topic to find the most reliable information. Fortunately, we researched coronavirus mask protection efficiency while developing our own masks, and we want everyone to be able to benefit from our work.

So does a face mask prevent coronavirus? Keep reading to learn what the research says. We’ll cover how cloth face masks work, why they are so important, how to clean them, and how else you can protect yourself from COVID-19.

Will a mask protect you from coronavirus?

It can, but it depends on the mask. Since cloth masks are not airtight or specifically designed to protect against particles like the coronavirus, they are not as effective in preventing yourself from getting infected as they are at preventing others from getting infected by you.

If you need to take extra precautions in helping avoid getting infected, the safest options are medical-grade masks, or those specifically designed to handle particles of this size, such as an N95 mask. But with those options in short supply and desperately needed by medical professionals, cloth face masks and those with filters are the next best option. Amongst the public, surgical masks are commonly used instead of cloth masks due to the belief that they offer superior protection, however most people don’t need a surgical mask.

Your Face Mask Protects Me

Do face masks prevent coronavirus?

Yes, but primarily a mask protects others from you. The popular public safety phrasing is "My mask protects you. Your mask protects me."

A cloth mask can help protect people around you from catching the virus if you’re unknowingly carrying it. Since about 25% of coronavirus carriers are asymptomatic, it’s easy to pass on the virus without ever realizing you’re infected.

The Mayo Clinic explains that masks work this way by preventing the droplet spread that occurs when you breathe, cough, or sneeze. By keeping your droplets to yourself, you’re less likely to infect others. The more people who wear masks in public, the harder it is for the virus to spread.

In addition to minimizing droplet spread, masks also help avoid touching your face. This in turn reduces the germs spreading from your hands to your face.

Masks also work at a high societal level by sending messages to others that we should take this seriously, and masks should not be stigmatized. The more people that are wearing masks around others reduces the overall chances that it will spread through the population.

What is droplet spread?

Droplets are created by people all day, every day while you breathe, sneeze, and cough. Moisture that is released from the body when these things occur contain droplets that are usually harmless; however, coronavirus particles are contained in these droplets when someone becomes infected.

If people are standing close enough together, infected droplets can spread directly from one individual to another. Masks can help to prevent this type of spread.

However, Dr. Alan Greene explains it’s more common for infected droplets to land on a surface such as a hand, phone, or doorknob. These surfaces can remain infectious for hours after the initial contamination. That’s why masks must be used along with frequent hand washing to slow the spread of the disease -- and why it’s necessary to properly clean your face mask.

Why is it important to keep masks clean?

Since infected droplets can land on your face mask just like any other surface, it can become a contamination vector if not properly cleaned. Learning to handle and clean your cloth face mask can help keep you and your family safe from infection.

Our face masks are only intended for limited duration use when medical-grade masks are not available. Limited duration could be anything from a quick trip to the store to a full shift at work. However, the longer you wear your face mask, the more likely it is to become damp from your breathing.

Nursing Times explains, “A mask wet with exhaled moisture has increased resistance to airflow, is less efficient at filtering bacteria and has increased venting.” If you need to wear your face mask for a long period, you may want to carry a back-up in case it becomes damp.

After wearing your face mask in public, you should assume the surface may be carrying infected droplets. Following CDC guidance, we recommend washing your mask with soap and water and drying it with high heat after every use. This and the other practices we recommend when you buy face masks online will keep them clean and safe.

Face Mask Moisture Guidelines

Why do we need to make masks the status quo?

Sick people should not be singled out or stigmatized in our society simply because mask wearing is not commonplace during times of medical crisis. This is especially true with the coronavirus pandemic, as a large percentage of people are completely asymptomatic. If only those with symptoms chose to wear masks and were singled out for this choice, encouraging those with no symptoms to do the same would be far more challenging.

“Widespread use of masks is critical not just for health reasons but also for social ones”, says Mitsutoshi Horii, a researcher at the U.K.’s Chaucer College and Japan’s Shumei University, as quoted in National Geographic. Horii goes on to explain that the sick and the vulnerable become stigmatized if they are the only ones wearing masks.

When everybody masks up in public, it helps to safeguard those most vulnerable to the virus without making them feel singled out. And while face masks primarily help other people from being exposed to droplet spread, that same article points out that mask wearers gain psychological benefits as well.

For the wearer, masks can provide a level of control and comfort that may help ease anxiety at a time where everything has been changed. In fact, many people feel a sense of solidarity when masking up. Face masks help you to do your part by keeping the people around you safe, both practically and socially.

How else can I protect against the coronavirus?

Everyone’s risk reduction strategy will be different depending on whether they still need to interact with others regularly or not, but doing the five following items are crucial to keeping yourself safe and healthy, as well as others.

Forbes reported that even Google devoted the most valuable real estate on the internet by calling out these five actions everyone can take to fight the coronavirus:

1 - Hands. Wash them often
2 - Elbow. Cough into it
3 - Face. Don't touch it
4 - Feet. Stay more than 6ft apart
5 - Feel sick? Stay home

These five actions neatly summarize the World Health Organization’s advice for protecting yourself and others from the spread of coronavirus.

Moisture Barrier Insert

In summary.

Not all face masks are the same. While some masks, especially those with filters and medical N95 respirators, can help act as barriers against coronavirus particles, the primary benefit of all masks is to help keep the people around you safe.

Masks work by catching infected droplets from the wearer’s coughs, sneezes, and exhalations, instead of spreading them to other people or nearby surfaces. This over time leads to the mask becoming damp and less effective, which is one reason cloth face masks need to be washed after each wearing.

When clean and dry, face masks help you do your part to keep your community free from the virus, both by minimizing droplet spread from asymptomatic carriers and by reducing the stigma the sick and vulnerable feel when they are the only ones to mask up.

But masks can’t fight coronavirus on their own. It’s vital that you also “Do The 5” to reduce the spread of the virus. Be smart and do 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