Major medical organizations now recommend wearing masks if a person is in a public place. Moreover, on December 1, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended wearing them not only indoors, where there are people with whom you do not live, but also on the street, if you can not keep a distance of at least a meter. WHO suggests using non-medical cloth masks. That is, reusable. You can make them yourself or buy them.
A mask (unlike a respirator) does not belong to personal protective equipment — it does not protect the person who wears it from others, but vice versa. But the problem is that not all such masks protect equally well. So we decided to tell you what to look for when choosing a non-medical cloth mask.
What should a good mask look like?
WHO says that the best mask simultaneously allows you to breathe well, filters well and sits well. And, of course, it should not have an exhalation valve-otherwise it will not be able to protect others.
What materials should it be made of?
This is a difficult question, because often materials meet one WHO criterion and do not meet another at all.
For example, the quality of filtration depends not on the composition of the material, but on its structure. Therefore, all the woven materials to filter the air bad. Fabric is an orderly intertwined fiber. In wool, silk or polymer fiber, in any case, there are holes between the fibers, through which air, and with it viral particles, easily flies.
But in nonwovens, the structure is more similar to cotton wool, there are no through holes. Air passes through them, but on the way it necessarily meets fibers that catch droplets of sputum and dust. Therefore, the best filtration to give nonwoven fabrics.
That is, it is better not to buy masks made of fabric?
Not really. Studies show that several layers of dense fabric (for example, flannel or thick muslin) give good filtration. But it should be borne in mind that a large number of layers of fabric can give good protection, but it will be difficult to breathe.
Which masks are definitely better not to buy?
This list can be very large, but if you stop at the main one, you should not use a mask if it is:
- single layer;
- from loose fabric (for example, gauze);
- made of very dense materials (for example, leather or dense polypropylene with small holes).