Lifestyle expert Anna De Souza breaks down everything you need to know about the different masks on the market today, to help prevent coronavirus.
ANNA DE SOUZA: Masks are gonna be part of our new normal for a while, but is the one you have now the best possible fit for you? Check out our comprehensive guide to all the most popular styles of masks on the market now.
We'll only touch briefly on N95 masks because, as you know, they continue to be reserved for first responders, according to the CDC. These masks are designed to offer a tight seal around the nose and the mouth, and it offers 95% protection from the particles in the air.
If you've visited a doctor's office, you've seen a surgical mask. This type of mask fits loosely over the nose and the mouth, and while it can protect you from larger droplets from coughing and sneezing, it's not flush to the face, so it might not protect you from all airborne particles. The wetness from your exhalation renders it disposable after about eight hours. While these masks do feel and look paper-thin, some of them do have an electrostatic charge that helps to trap particles in.
Dentists and contractors commonly use molded masks. They're fluid-resistant and cup over the nose and the mouth, and there's a metal band here that will help secure it to the bridge of the nose. Molded masks are a little bit easier to breathe with because it's 3D, so the fabric is not folding in and out of itself with every one of your breaths.
The CDC recommends cloth masks for everyone over the age of two. So how do you know which one is best, and for what type of activity? Let's go through your options. While too many layers may make it hard to breathe, medical professionals do recommend a cloth mask with at least three layers for the best possible protection.
One style that's readily available on the market is a mask with an outside layer, then a pocket layer where you fit in a filter, in which case you can turn to coffee filters or even paper towels as a safe at-home alternative. The combination of two materials, like a high thread count cotton and a silk and chiffon, can filter out as many particles as an N95 mask.
You've probably seen masks on the market with valves. And while they may be more comfortable for the wearer because it pushes out any sort of humidity, in fact, it also pushes out viruses back out into the air. So unfortunately, these masks are not recommended by the CDC.
Bandannas and neck gaiters are typically made of polyester or another synthetic material. They're essentially a tube that you lift up to cover your nose and mouth. Since these fabrics are thin, experts do recommend folding it into multiple layers for some added protection.
3D cloth masks are typically designed with thicker fabrics to help the mask keep its shape. This origami-style mask may be a really great option for those who feel claustrophobic or asthmatics who may need more oxygen.
Experts and parents agree, the general rule of thumb for kids age 2 to 12 is to find patterns they love. Look for masks with soft seams so it won't irritate your child's skin. You also want to look for multiple layers for the best possible protection, while still being breathable.
Thanks so much for watching, and we'll catch you in the next video.