Masks seem to be everywhere these days. That big departmental store you often visit, the grocery store next street or your favorite medical shop- you name the place, and they are there! Despite this, the tussle of which type of mask should you buy- an N95 mask or a PM2.5 mask seems never-ending.
Let’s settle this for you by answering some frequently asked questions.
Should I use an N95 mask or cloth mask?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using cloth face covering for the general public. They put forward that the N95 masks should be reserved for health workers prone to a much higher risk.
N95 face coverings filter out at least 95 per cent of the particles present in the air. They are quite effective in preventing smaller particles from reaching the wearer.
How does the filtration efficiency of an N95 mask compare with a PM2.5 filter mask?
N95 masks are designed to fit closely on the face to minimize any leakage. However, they shouldn’t be worn for long hours at a stretch except under a medical or industrial setting. Doing so causes an unnecessary strain on your heart and lungs. These face coverings' filtering capability creates an additional barrier that makes it hard to breathe for people suffering from medical conditions.
When it comes to cloth face covering’s filtration efficiency, it depends on several factors like the fabric being used, the overall fit and the number of layers. You should know all about the filtration efficiency of cloth masks before buying them.
A well-fitted mask with a PM2.5 filter offers the best of both the worlds. It helps you get significant protection from the tiniest particles without the unnecessary strain caused by N95 masks. Besides protecting you from the virus present in the air, they safeguard you from fine pollutants.
Note: If you consider neck gaiters an alternative to masks, mind you most of the single-layered masks and neck gaiters don’t qualify under the new CDC standards. It means they don’t even prevent 20 per cent of fine aerosols from reaching your nose and eventually lungs.
Do I need PM2.5 filters with my cotton mask?
Fabrics act as a physical barrier against viruses present in the air. When you add a carbon filter in a face covering’s filter pocket, it creates an electrostatic barrier that attracts the particles and prevents them from reaching your nose and mouth. This significantly improves the filtration efficiency of a mask.
How should I take care of your PM2.5 mask to maximize its protection?
Washing your mask frequently is a great way to ensure that the harmful particles sticking to it do not pose any harm to you when you wear it the next time. Before washing it, make sure to remove the PM2.5 filter as they won’t last the wash.
If you don’t want to wash your mask daily, a UV mask sanitizer box can significantly simplify your face covering cleaning regime.
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