In response to the pandemic, everyone from Etsy vendors to big box chains have responded by selling all kinds of masks. Some are fabric, some paper, some silly, some statements, but they all do the same job: cover your mouth and nose to keep you safe.
But what if you want to improve your mask collection or just update what you have? Is just another cloth mask the best option?
That’s a tough question to answer because so much of health safety has to do with following hygiene guidelines. You could wear a mask all day, but if you don’t pair that behavior with washing your hands, well, it’s anyone’s guess how much more susceptible to the virus you might be.
With that in mind, here are five different masks to keep you safe.
KN95 Civil Grade Protective Mask
If you need to outfit yourself, your family or your staff, civilians would do well to grab a KN95 mask. Although they’re not medical grade, these masks still provide protection from aerosol spray, which doctors believe, according to Scientific American, is one of the biggest threats in the spread of the virus.
Specialist ID sells KN95 masks in minimum packages of five. And they ship within 24 hours.
A good option for spaces that hinder social distancing, disposable masks because, as the name suggests, you can use them then throw them away. The one-and-done aspect means that fewer germs are spread on already exposed masks.
Better yet? Specialist ID sells their disposable masks in 50 mask packs so you’ll have plenty to get you through the winter before you need to order more.
While not a replacement for a face mask, face shields are a great PPE addition. Outfit yourself in one of these and enjoy the benefits of an extra layer of protection that will keep aerosol spray away from your face thanks to the shield’s wrap-around coverage.
The headgear is adjustable and made to rest comfortably for days when it needs to be on for many hours.
As mentioned earlier, you can find cloth masks almost anywhere. But before you purchase, be sure to check that it's at least two-ply or more for protection. Also, it’s important to note that some airlines are now refusing to let passengers fly with certain kinds of masks. On airlines like Alaska Air, you can no longer wear cloth masks with exhaust valves.
Early in the pandemic, many businesses started selling neckies. Basically a neckband that one could pull up around their face as need be, these were especially popular with men. Also known as gaiters, this option was later questioned for its safety, resulting in what one scientist called “Gaitergate.”
At question was whether gaiters provided the same protection as regular face masks. Since those original arguments broiled earlier this year, further research from Duke, according to the Washington Post, showed that when a single-layer gaiter is doubled up “it is highly effective at blocking a range of particle sizes.”
The takeaway? It’s all about how you wear it.
And that goes for every mask. Put a mask just on your mouth and you’re missing the whole point. To be effective, a mask needs to cover your nose and mouth and be thick enough to prevent both your own spray as well as that from others from getting through.
That’s why smart shoppers should carefully check the construction and fabrication of any mask they’re considering purchasing. As the New York Times reported in April, the race to meet the mask demand was like catnip to profiteers and unknowing consumers were the big losers.
While it’s much easier to find masks today, one can never be too careful. If you want to stay safe, you must think for yourself and bring a skeptic’s eye to every piece of personal protective gear.
And that begins by shopping with reputable distributors. At Specialist ID, we’ve worked hard to rise to this health crisis challenge and provide additional tools to help Americans and those beyond stay safe. Our line of PPE items includes not just masks, but face lanyards, no-touch tools, social distancing badges, and other items to help customers stay safe.