A good mask won’t stop you from getting the virus, but it will stop you from contributing to the germ pool, which is huge in getting the nation back to “normal,” or as close to normal as possible at any rate.
The CDC and WHO approve of basic and surgical face protection mask for public use. These type of masks are specially designed to prevent you from spreading any illness you may have.
The different types of face masks include:
- Basic cloth face mask:
This is your standard, everyday version of a face mask. It’s also the version recommended for public use in the midst of COVID-19. You can wear this type of face mask while going to the grocery store, gas station, or any other open public place.
- Surgical face mask
An FDA-approved surgical mask is made from a thin, disposable material. Medical professionals who are currently operating drive-thru testing for COVID-19 are wearing a version of this face mask that covers not just their nose and mouth, but also their eyes, cheeks, and forehead. You’ll also see this type of mask worn in hospitals by doctors and respiratory therapists.
- N95 respirator
You won’t find N65 Respirators worn by the general public. This type of face mask is critical for health care workers and medical first responders. Please don’t use/purchase this type of mask if you are not working directly with patients. Supplies are scarce right now, and these masks need to be reserved for those who really need them.
- Filtering facepiece respirator
Like surgical masks, this type of face mask is disposable. It’s not commonly used to stop the spread of airborne illnesses, but rather is worn to decrease exposure to particles that come from wood dust, animal dander, and pollen. Those with allergies might consider using this type of face mask during the pandemic.
- P100 respirator/gas mask
A P100 respirator isn’t commonly associated with healthcare. It’s instead worn by painters, woodworkers, and anyone who may be in contact with lead, asbestos, or chemicals. You shouldn’t wear this type of mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- Self-contained breathing apparatus
Firefighters commonly wear this type of face mask so they can breathe clean air in dangerous situations. There’s absolutely no need to wear this type of face mask during the spread of COVID-19. If you do purchase one, you’re taking it away from a firefighter or rescue worker that may actually need it.
- Full face respirator
Do you have a hard time breathing in a cloth or surgical mask? A full-face respirator, which is typically used for home improvement projects, maybe a good choice for you. This type of mask, however, should be reserved for those who already have breathing problems or respiratory issues.
- Full-length face shield
This is a mask that’s a flimsier, plastic version of the glass ones you see worn by welders. It covers the entire face from forehead to chin and secures with a cushioned headband. For the most part, a full-length face shield isn’t ideal during the COVID-19 crisis as it’s tough to breathe in overtime.
- KN95 respirator
KN95 masks are very similar to N95 masks. Both capture about 95% of tiny particles in the air. The biggest difference is that N95 masks are able to capture larger particles.