Shopping for face masks? We consulted medical experts on how to shop for face masks and rounded up those adhering to the CDC's guidelines.
As the U.S. continues to experience surges in coronavirus cases, many states are responding by enforcing state-wide mask mandates. More than half the country now requires all residents — including kids — to wear a mask in public spaces where social distancing is not possible, including while exercising outdoors. Other states, like Florida — which together with Texas and California account for about one-fifth of the world's new coronavirus cases — require people to wear masks only in specific counties. Since April, the CDC has recommended people wear face coverings in public — including homemade cloth face masks. But some governors resisted issuing statewide mask requirements until now. Widespread mask requirements come as New York, New Jersey and Connecticut announced they will quarantine visitors from over a dozen states upon arrival. Some cities, like Chicago, have issued travel advisories for people coming from coronavirus hot spots.
Should you get a face mask?
The CDC has advised wearing a cloth face covering for those out in public spaces, like grocery stores and pharmacies, where it could be hard to properly socially distance. Stores such as Walmart, CVS and Whole Foods also now require customers to wear masks at locations nationwide, as we mentioned above, and many municipalities and state governments are also mandating the use of face masks. But legal requirements aren’t the only reason to don a face mask While the CDC recommends wearing a face mask, experts agree that cloth face masks do not replace the need for washing hands or social distancing, and they absolutely do not alone prevent the spread of COVID-19. Most cloth masks will work to help prevent the spread of droplets that the wearer is emitting, explains John-Martin Lowe, PhD, the assistant vice chancellor for interprofessional health security training and education at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. It can help reduce the chance of infecting others if you’re sick, and will not fully protect you from contracting the virus from someone else.
“Cloth masks should not give wearers the confidence to ignore social distancing,” said Lowe, adding, “If you’re sick or have an infection and don’t know it, the virus will hopefully be reduced by you wearing a mask.”
Some types of masks, specifically N95 or surgical masks, which offer the most protection and are highly in demand, should be reserved for health care workers who are most exposed to infected patients, according to the CDC.
How to shop for the best face masks
In guiding the proper way to wear a face mask or "cloth face covering," the CDC outlined five criteria:
- They must fit snugly (but comfortably) against your face
- They must be secured with ties or ear loops
- They must include multiple layers of fabric
- They must allow for breathing without restriction
- They must be washable without damage or shape change
Some masks also allow for the ability to insert an additional filter, like a high efficiency particulate air, or HEPA, filter. HEPA filters are designed to clear out at least 99.7 percent of particulates that are 0.3 microns or larger in size. For reference, a micron, or micrometer, is about one twenty-five thousandth of an inch and designated with an μm. That can add an additional layer of filtration, said Segal.
Additionally, shoppers should look for masks that can be easily washed and are comfortable, said Anna Davies, a research facilitator who previously worked in the Infectious Diseases department at the University of Cambridge. “If you can’t breathe through it very well, you’re not going to want to wear it very long. And air takes the path of least resistance so it’ll just bypass the material and go out the sides,” she said. “The wearer shouldn’t be touching their mask once on, so ideally a soft fabric is good.”
While shopping for a face mask, here’s the bottom line: Comfort, washability and dual-filtration is key. But above all else, keep practicing social distancing, washing your hands and other precautions, no matter what type of mask you have on.
Where to shop face masks giving back to relief efforts
There are numerous companies making and selling face masks online. If you're shopping for your own face mask, we've compiled those face masks whose listed features and materials adhere to the CDC's criteria on what you should be looking for, as well as to the expert guidance we share above.
You can refer our Trung Quy Nano antibacterial cotton fabric water repellent reusable face mask that got highly recommended on Trustpilot and has official certificate of registration for producing this face mask.
Article referred from NBC News