Let’s Get Technical: Face Masks 101
In these times of pandemic, we've learned a lot more than we ever thought we'd need to about community transmission, droplet emissions, and even the anatomy of a sneeze. Or maybe that's just us? We figured if we're going to provide wholesale high-quality face masks to the public, we should know what we were talking about.
So, we did the research so you don't have to. Feeling a little news weary? Looking for the need-to-know highlights? Here's what you need to know about face masks, why you need to cover your face in public, and why a surgical mask is better protection than a fabric mask.
Do I really need a face mask or face covering?
Yes. The CDC recommends wearing a face mask when in public to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. While some guidance suggests that you only need the face mask when you are less than six feet away from someone, some new research suggests that droplets carrying the virus can travel even farther than that. Long story short, wear a mask when you're in public — no matter how close (or far!) people are.
Does a mask even do anything? I read it doesn't protect me.
Wearing a high quality and properly fitted face mask is essential for minimizing exhale droplets. As their name implies, those are droplets that you exhale. Don't worry, you usually don't know it, but when you speak (and especially when you cough or sneeze) these droplets leave your mouth and go into the air around you. A mask protects others from the droplets/germs that you expel — and then they return the favor by wearing one too. That's where you get protected. It's like putting your best foot forward and paying it forward, all at once.
Okay, can I wear my stylish/trendy fabric mask?
It might look cooler or go with your outfit, but the CDC did show some concern around the efficacy of fabric masks saying that, "Exhalations or violent exhalations such as coughs or sneezes would be deflected to the sides of these masks — as they are not perfectly sealed."
Why do I need to worry about my mask being "sealed" or tight-fitting?
Virus-filled droplets can be as small as one micron. For scale, a human hair is anywhere from 60-120 microns. Suffice it to say, we definitely can't see these droplets with the naked eye — but we do know how they operate.
Scientists are still studying how long the virus particles can remain in the air, and how that can change with environmental conditions, but for now, we know that these air-bound droplets (called aerosols) are a threat when they're in the air around us. That's why we need a mask that closely fits our faces — because these microscopic particles can sneak in between any gaps that your fabric mask might have. This is also the reason why we need a face mask with multi-layer filtration.
Tell me about filters and filtration with respect to my face mask.
Sure! As we mentioned above, we need to block aerosols that might be carrying the virus. Part of this is with a mask like the KN95 that can be fitted and adjusted to properly fit your face. The other part is filtration.
Filtration is what prevents you from breathing in those particles through your face mask or covering. There's a lot of guidelines, testing, and certifying around the "inward leakage" of a face mask, but we'll spare you the nitty-gritty and instead give you what you need to know:
Contrast this to the filtration of fabric masks, which is not only untested and unregulated but changes based on the type of fabric worn/used in the mask. We don't know about you, but that 90%+ sounds pretty good to us.
Check out our shop, choose the mask that's right for you, and take advantage of our wholesale pricing.