What are the Different Types of Face Mask Options, and What Should I Wear?
When out in public or when viewing COVID-19 news coverage, you may commonly see three types of face masks:
N95 Respirators – A particulate-filtering facepiece respirator that meets the N95 standard of the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health air filtration rating because it filters at least 95% of airborne particles.
Surgical Face Masks – A mask intended to be worn by healthcare professionals during surgery to catch the bacteria shed in liquid droplets and aerosols from the wearer’s mouth and nose.
Homemade Cloth Face Mask Coverings – Bandanas, scarves, and cloths that cover the nose and mouth.
The general public is encouraged to use a homemade face mask at this time. Surgical masks and N95 respirators are in critical demand, and the CDC asks that citizens reserve them for use by healthcare workers and other medical first responders. You can make an effective cloth face covering from household or other common materials. All face coverings must be disposed of after each use, or laundered before being worn again.
Note that all homemade cloth face coverings should:
Fit securely but not uncomfortably against the face
Be secured with ties or ear loops to hold in place
Include multiple layers of fabric
Allow for unrestricted breathing
Be launderable without damaging the material or changing the shape
Cloth face coverings should not be placed on anyone who:
Is under age two
Has trouble breathing
Is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance
Stay Home. Stay Safe.
Over the next few weeks, as we continue to battle the global fight against COVID-19, stay home and stay safe. Follow social distancing requirements, and minimize unnecessary trips to public places, even if obtaining essential services. Together, we will flatten the curve of COVID-19 and recover as a world from this deadly and devastating illness.