Even with vaccines deployed, it doesn’t seem like the world will ever see the end of face masks. These vaccines were created to prevent the severe symptoms of COVID-19, not to prevent the transmission of the virus.
Health experts are still urging that the public wear face masks, keep diligent hygiene practices, and try to social distance as much as possible. Now that face masks are readily available in many forms, which type is best at keeping us safe — 3-ply or KN95?
To find out the science behind the masks, check out the information below.
What Is 3-Ply?
3-ply masks, also known as surgical masks, are often the disposable kind found in stores. The name 3-ply indicates the 3 layers of nonwoven fabric. Although they have not been thoroughly tested for protection against small airborne pathogens like bacteria and viruses, they were developed to protect doctors from exposure to a patient’s fluids.
Their moisture-proofing does protect the wearer against fluids that help spread pathogens. This decreases the chance of contracting COVID-19.
What Is KN95?
KN95 masks are personal protective equipment a step above 3-ply. They offer 5 layers of protection and purport to filter 95% of particles. When shopping for this mask, make sure to purchase from reputable sellers as there is a large amount of counterfeit KN95 masks on the market.
The one downside of these masks is that they are not compatible with certain types of facial hair. If you have a beard, consider shaving it before buying this type of mask.
Other Types of Masks
Cloth face masks are another type of protection against the spread of illness, although it is recommended that they are made of 3 or more layers of different fabrics with a specific thread count. For environmentally-conscious folks, this type of mask is ideal because it is washable and reusable.
Unfortunately, cloth masks are not likely to provide as much protection as a mask like the KN95. This is especially true for those who improvise cloth face masks with items like bandanas or scarves.
Wearing a Mask
For any type of mask to be effective, it has to be worn properly. Ideally, the mask will create a seal around the face. When putting on a mask, check the seal and adjust the nose area to fit tightly.
Avoid touching the mask, and especially avoid pulling it down. The outside of the mask is exposed to potentially dangerous particles, and touching it will get those particles on your hands.
Additionally, 3-ply masks can be combined with a cloth mask on top; however, KN95 masks should be worn alone.
Relevant Health Guides
Whether you choose 3-ply or any other type of mask, the important part is that you are not only protecting yourself against the virus, but you are protecting others. Wearing a face mask in public may be uncomfortable at times, but it has become the “new normal” during this global health crisis.
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