All You Need to Know about Face Masks

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The two month long lock down during the COVID-19 Pandemic has had our country going into economic regression and the government has no other alternative but to relax the lock down for allowing people to start working and fuel the economy.
But with more and more people returning to work and coming out of the safety of their homes, it has become even more important to continue the safety measures like social distancing,wearing face masks and keeping hands germ free as the number of people suffering is now running into millions and this virus has very high infectivity and virulence.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed
the way we interact socially and publicly
Dr. Raed Dweik, MD, Chair of Cleveland Clinic’s Respiratory Institute (RI) has to say this about why wearing face masks is important ,”By blocking the exhale of virus particles in to the air around you, your mask is keeping the virus from spreading.Moreover,coughing and sneezing significantly increase the amount of aerosols in an exhaled breath, creating a turbulent cloud that can propel the contents up to 25 to 26 feet. Any type of face mask provides a physical barrier that disrupts this event.” So wearing a face mask basically controls the spread of the virus in the air.
A good face  mask can control the spread of the infection
While most of us know that washing the hands for a minimum 20 seconds with soap or sanitising with a sanitiser containing  minimum 70% alcohol by volume can get rid of germs on the hands,there is a lot of confusion about face masks and their usage ,which I will try to set right in this post today.

What are the Different types of Face Masks?

Face Masks can be divided into three basic categories

1.Cloth face Masks 


Cloth face masks are cheap and easily washable but are they effective ?

Cloth face masks or coverings can be either stitched or even a folded handkerchief or scarf that can be used to cover the nose and mouth.

To be effective the cloth mask should not be loose and fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face The covering should be well secured with ties or ear loops at the sides for a snug fit.The coverings should Include multiple layers of fabric for best filtration.The cloth mask should be made of cloth that should allow for breathing without restriction. It should be home washable and easily dried without losing its shape or getting damaged while washing.

Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

Can Cloth Coverings Reduce the risk of contracting Corona Infection ?

The cloth face coverings are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators.The highly permeable materials such as cotton, do not prevent viral particles from being inhaled.

According to Dr. Steven Gordon, MD, Chairman of Cleveland clinic’s Department of infectious disease and Pulmonologist “Cloth face coverings are intended to keep the wearer from spreading respiratory secretions when talking, sneezing or coughing,”

2. Surgical Disposable Face Masks                                                       



Surgical face masks (
These are the most commonly used face masks during the epidemic as they are light weight and easy to dispose.Surgical grade face masks are less permeable than cloth masks so can trap more protein exudate and virus particles compared to cloth ace mask.
They are cheaper than Respirators and a better choice than cloth masks but they are meant to be used for short period of time and should be disposed daily , this can make it a bit costly in the long run.

The best and safest Face Masks need to be tested for Bacteria filtration efficiency  (BFE) in vitro,Particle Filtration Efficiency (PFE), Breathing and Splash resistance etc and be certified by approving agencies like FDA, NOSH,OSHA or CE etc.

3.Respirator Face Masks 



Respirator face masks are highly specialised face masks 
Respirator face masks are specialised high quality face masks and are a part of the critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders like doctors, nurses, police personnel etc. 


There is some confusion about N95 vs. KN95 ,well both N95s and KN95s are  rated to capture 95% of particles, although only KN95 masks have slightly stronger requirements for breathability.
These masks are also used to combat air pollution when the suspended particulate matter in the air is dangerously high.

Other than having a good Bacteria filtration efficiency  (BFE) in vitro,Particle Filtration Efficiency (PFE), Breathing and Splash resistance etc. ,a face mask should fit well to be efficient so pay attention to the size while choosing one.

Buy it  Here

How to put on Your Face Mask properly

1.Wash your hands -Use an alcohol – based hand sanitizer or a hand wash or soap to kill germs and bacteria that may transfer from your hand to your mask. Rub your hands for at least 20 seconds for optimal results.
2. Put on the mask -Make sure it fits snugly and is as close to your face as possible with minimum gaps between the mask and your facial skin.
3.Position it – Ensure that it fully covers your mouth and nose, because these are the areas that can catch and spread pathogen-containing droplets to other parts of your face. You can pinch the

Face masks should be worn and taken off
 in the right way to be effective (


How to take off your Face mask  safely

1. Avoid touching the front of the mask because there is a good chance that it could be contaminated
with pathogens. Also, your hands are important vectors of infection, so if you touch your eyes, nose or mouth after coming into contact with outer side of the mask you could be indirectly transmitting the virus to the areas. So, avoid touching the mask and  hold the mask only by the ear loops and pull it forward to minimize the risk of infection.

2. Dispose it properly
Still holding it by the ear loops carefully deposit the mask into a paper bag into a bin.Disinfect the face mask with a 2% domestic bleach solution before discarding it.
3.Wash your hands after discarding the face mask with  an alcohol-based sanitizer and rub your hands for at least 20 seconds to get the job done properly.

Stay safe ,Wear a mask (
While the epidemic keeps raging on (and experts believe it will be  a few more months before there will be a vaccine or cure available) we are forced to move out of the sanctuary of our houses, but that does not mean there is a  need to panic .With the right gear, hand hygiene and social distancing  we can conquer the virus easily. 
( Disclosure: This blog may contain some “affiliate links.” This means we may garner a small commission at no cost to you if you choose to make a purchase through these links .)     

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