Choosing the Right Face Mask For Your Needs
Whether you’re a nurse at a hospital, a home health aide, or someone who just needs a cloth face covering for running errands, in today’s environment, face masks are essential in order to protect yourself and those around you. But choosing the right mask for your needs can be more complicated than it may seem. Not all masks provide the same level of protection and some types of medical masks are made for certain circumstances as well. Here’s a look at the different types of face masks and what you need to know so you can make an informed decision for your needs.
Four Types of Face Masks: Medical and Non-Medical
When selecting a reusable face mask, there are a few things to consider, including the fabric that it’s made of, how many layers there are, and the shape.
When shopping for a face mask, look for ones that are made from 100% cotton or 100% polyester. When looking at the microscopic level of cotton, the fibers have a more three-dimensional shape, which can help prevent particles from entering the mask. Synthetic fibers, on the other hand, are smoother, so there is an increased risk of particles entering the mask. To test the thickness of the weave of a certain material, hold the mask up to the light. If you can see the individual fibers, it’s not going to offer enough protection.
A mask with multiple layers will do a better job of preventing particles from traveling through the mask. Ideally, choose a mask with two layers and a built-in pocket so that you can place a filter inside the mask. Slip-in filters made of polypropylene are good options.
A mask should fit snugly over your nose and chin as well as cover the sides of your face to prevent particles from entering through the gaps.
Medical Personal Protective Equipment
These medical-grade masks are made of many layers of polypropylene fibers and they have a snug seal around the face so that there are never any gaps. N95 masks are capable of blocking at least 95% of airborne particles due to its layers. However, another reason why they are so effective is that polypropylene holds an electrostatic charge. This static electricity traps incoming and outgoing droplets. N95 masks are generally reserved for medical personnel who require additional protection when coming in contact with the general public.
KN95 masks also block at least 95% of particles. KN95 masks are manufactured by the Chinese government and received an emergency use authorization from the FDA and CDC/CE. They offer low breathing resistance and high filtration efficiency. However, if you are shopping for medical masks and find packaging that says NIOSH approved, don’t buy it. NIOSH, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, would not approve personal protective equipment that is manufactured by another country, which may operate under different standards.
These masks have a loose fit and are meant to protect the wearer from larger droplets or splashes. They do not provide the same protection against very small particles as N95 or KN95 masks. They are generally made of non-woven fabric, such as polypropylene, which can offer better protection against bacteria than a woven cloth.
Shop Nationwide Medical Supply For Medical Personal Protective Equipment
Our team is committed to providing businesses, healthcare facilities, and the general public with PPE supplies that are high-quality and affordable. We have a dedicated customer support team that can help you decide which supplies you need based on your unique needs. We offer nationwide shipping as well as local pickups for the Denver, Colorado, area. Shop with us today, and protect yourself and those around you with quality PPE supplies.