Is having a face mask really the best option?
The CDC has issued statements saying that we must all be wearing a face mask. Many of us have complied and wearing a face mask is the new norm in our society. Not wearing a face mask is met with shame as you can hear, “you should be wearing your face mask” from the occasional passerby on your grocery store shopping trip.” We all want to be protected from the coronavirus and we try our best to make sure we can stay healthy. When worrying about how best to be safe we first need to figure out if we have the right equipment for the job. We all agree on gloves, but the differences among face masks give rise to speculation. This brings up the question of the hour, “disposable face mask or reusable face mask?”
Disadvantages of disposable face masks
Scarcity of Masks:Disposable face masks are rapidly being shipped to areas that need them the most. Some locations have seen shortages of these masks which have caused serious exposure points for the virus to spread. These masks are not just for civilians, they are the primary equipment that medical professionals need in order to work. The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. The statement specifies wearing cloth coverings and does not recommend wearing disposable masks. Medical professionals are working tirelessly to ensure our safety during this crisis. Making sure they are protected and granted the necessary tools is one of the most important tasks during this pandemic.
Pollution:The production and use of these face masks comes with problems of its own. The overuse of disposable masks has created an opportunity for many people to litter. There were reports in Hong Kong of increased ground pollution around the coastline. Instead of finding the closest waste bin, mask wearers would instead discard their masks on the ground. The discarded masks could become hazardous to many wildlife species on land and sea. We should do our best to find the proper waste disposal unit to dispose of our used masks. Part of the issue stemmed from overflown waste bins. It is advised if a receptacle is overflown to place your contaminated face mask in a sealed baggy to dispose of it at a later time. If it seems like a chore then the best option would be to go with a reusable alternative.
Advantages of Disposable Face Masks
Disposable face masks have been the icon of this pandemic. People are wearing two main types of disposable masks, a surgical mask, or an N95 respirator mask. Surgical masks are loose-fitting around the mouth while N95 respirator masks are designed to fit tightly around the wearer’s nose and mouth. These disposable masks have similarities, but they also have individual advantages that distinguish between them. Here are just a few of the advantages:
Price:Acquiring a disposable face mask is very inexpensive. A person can get a bundle of N95 masks for the cost of lunch on a workday (remember those days). Without buying a bundle someone can still get a single mask for pretty cheap. The surgical masks are practically pennies and are even cheaper than the N95 respirator. In some areas they are even giving these masks away for free.
Convenience:Prolonged use is not the best option for these masks. Medical professionals are expected to change masks after every patient interaction. A major important benefit of these masks is that they are disposable. After a day of use they should be carefully discarded. The task is as simple as removing the mask from your ears and safely throwing it away, making sure to wash your hands. In case of accidental contamination, you are expected to have multiple masks on you so that you can easily put on another mask after washing your hands.
Bulky:This is where these masks can vary. The N95 respirator masks can be slightly bulky around the face. The mask must be tightly placed around the wearer’s nose and mouth and the respirator valve needs to be quality checked before any benefit can be truly achieved from wearing it. Wearing this type of mask can be very uncomfortable. Surgical masks are different in the way they provide protection. Surgical masks do not have the added weight on your face. To some it may feel like a thin sheet of paper resting over your nose and mouth.
Protection:The protection aspect of these two masks varies as well. The N95 respirator mask is the gold standard for protection. When worn properly these masks can exceed the protection of surgical masks. This mask is meant to even shield against exposure to heavier oil-based aerosols. On the other hand, surgical face masks, though not as good at giving protection are still great for defending against splashes and large-particle droplets. The fabric, by design, does not filter or block very small particles in the air that may be transmitted by coughs, sneezes, or certain medical procedures. It still does the best job it can.
Advantages of Reusable face masks
A reusable face mask can be a great option as well. Reusable face masks are not your standard mask, but they can be effective in the fight against coronavirus. Here are a few advantages that the right one can have for the right owner:
Eco-Friendly:Reusable masks are eco-friendly just for being what they are, reusable. After you finish using your mask for the day you can use safety precautions to remove the mask and engage in washing procedures for it to be worn the next day. These masks are not just one-time throwaways but an active participant in your self-protection. Just make sure you are washing your hand afterward.
Fabric type:Another advantage of the reusable face mask is the type of fabric the mask is made of. Disposable masks such as the surgical mask are made out of polypropylene. Polypropylene is a type of plastic that is found to be a culprit in our emissions levels. The plastic decays overtime after sunlight exposure, hurting our planet more than doing good. Luckily, some reusable masks are made out of natural cloth materials such as cotton. Cotton has been ranked as a good alternative to its artificial counterparts when protecting against the coronavirus. Using a material such as cotton in favor of a brighter future over plastic sounds like a good idea. Besides, the thought of decaying plastic in front of our faces certainly can be something to worry about.
These masks give us the ability to do one of the most important things that make us who we are. That thing is having your own style and ability to express yourself. We wake up every morning and pick out the outfits which fit the message we want to deliver to the world that day. We may be forced to wear these masks, but they do not have to be dreary and plain. Having the ability to dress it up makes it a nice addition to a possibly stale wardrobe. Fashion masks are now in style. Masks are being created with new patterns and designs which may be the new accessory to compliment your fashion choices.
It does not end with just patterns. Masks are made with many different face sizes in mind. If normal masks do not work for you, then better luck can be had with reusable ones. “Your Simple Accessory” creates masks that not only work with most faces but are tailored to work for people who wear glasses. Many people with glasses have issues with the mask sitting correctly and companies such as this ours have pioneered a way to solve this problem.
What sets disposable masks apart from their reusable counterparts is that they have guaranteed built-in N95 protection. The main worry when purchasing a reusable face mask is wondering if it contains N95 filtration or not. The reusable mask companies have a few ways to combat this. Some retailers have encouraged wearing the reusable masks layered over the disposable ones. This may be a hassle for some because you now have to wear two masks. If this proves difficult, then getting a mask like the ones created by “Your Simple Accessory” could assist. They have a reusable face mask with a filter pouch. The filter pouch enables you to place an N95 filter yourself. Removable filters are great because you can easily launder the masks simply by taking out the filter, making this a convenient and hygienic option. The 100% cotton inner lining contained in their masks is not only comfortable against the skin but is a safe hypoallergenic material for those sensitive to synthetics.