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Expert Talk: Things you need to consider before you Buy a Face Mask

With the growing trend of face mask and recommendation from the WHO (World Health Organization) is has become vital to wear face masks that can lead to the slowdown of the pandemic. It is a great idea to invest in a good quality face mask as it is one of the most sagacious ways to protect you from the deadly virus.
Before buying a mask, the most important thing is to consider its effectiveness. Nowadays, there are numerous face masks available in the market, such as N95, N100, P95, and P100, and there are many more. The mask should be useful in filtering the pollutant particles. The higher the particles, the more significant are the mask. 
The particulate matter in the pollution is classified as PM 1, PM 2.5, and PM 10. It is vital to protect yourself from harmful gases, PM, and heavy metals. 
So, let us highlight a few of the crucial points that you should consider before buying a face mask:

1. PM Size that it can filter 

These pollutants are found in the air causing significant damage. As already discussed, the filters are the essential elements that you need to consider as provide you sheer protection from the virus particles and the pollutants in the air. A mask that comes with a micro ventilator or a breathing valve makes you easier to breathe.
For instance, PM 10 and above particulate matter gets filtered at the nose as the nose filters do not go inside these large particles. Even if an element gets trapped, it will only irritate the nose, eyes, or throat. In contrast, PM of 2.5 to 10 are small particles, and there is a high risk of these particles going inside the lungs, then traveling to different parts of the body via the blood. These small particles will directly reach the bloodstream and cause damage.
So while choosing a mask, some masks can filter particles of up to 2.5 PM, and some can filter more. So while you choose a mask for yourself, take care of the PM it can filter.

2. The Quality of the Mask

Make sure the mask you are buying is approved by the Government, assuring the quality is maintained. N95 and N99 are two of the excellent quality masks prescribed by the physicians. 
So it’s important to check the fabric of the mask as well as the packaging. Let us go in details:
The Fabric 
The mask has different layers. The outer layer is hydrophobic, which does not let water in an inner layer is soft and mostly a kind of tissue paper stuff that quickly absorbs the moisture you breathe out. 
In some masks, the middle layer is a kind of paper and is also very absorbent. Most of the masks come with filters that prevent the particles from going inside the mask.
The Packaging 
It is another factor you need to consider before you buy the face mask. Check the mask’s quality because all good quality masks are packed with a quality check stamp when approved. 
You can also carry the light a match test, which will determine the quality of the mask. Light a match and try to blow out with your mask on. A good mask shouldn’t even move the flame. That is quite a simple way of testing your face mask.

3. The Fitting

A perfect fit mask should amply sit on the nasal bridge and entirely cover the nose and the mouth so that there are no chances of particles moving in.
As per WHO, if you are going to a crowded place or moving in a confined area, you will have close contact with the people. So, when they blow out to breathe, there are chances of your infection. But a perfect fit mask can prevent the same.
Why is a good fit mask essential?
The perfect fit mask’s main aim is to stop your breath coming out as long as you are in a public place. A face mask that perfectly covers your nose and mouth ensures a tight fit. There is no use of wearing a loose mask.
The perfect way to check if your mask is tight enough is, if your glasses fog up, it means the mask is doing what it is supposed to.

4. Don’t Prefer Knit Materials 

Although the knit and the soft t-shirt material are soft, they tend to stretch and make the holes quite bigger, which means the virus can quickly go through. A t-shirt mask is considered suitable for someone who has breathing issues. Although it offers less protection but saves you from harder breathing. Stretching on the knit material if the mask is too tight on the face or protruding areas like the nose.
Also, wearing a bandana is not considered a good option as most people think it has a softer material and can go with it for the whole day. Also, a study shows bandana performs the worst as a protection against the virus, and as it is loosely woven, there are more chances of the aerosols to move in.

Wearing something is far better than wearing nothing 

People who find wearing a mask very difficult can cause them difficulty in breathing and problems. Masks are not a substitute for social distancing. Also, you need to take care of disposing of the mask as it can lead to the spread of infection. To avoid this, keep the mask in the zip lock or a plastic bag and dispose of it to avoid infections.

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