As crazy as this year has been, there’s one thing we did get out of this….a new fashion opportunity. and So, lets get into the latest fashion accessory, face masks. If we’re smart (and lucky), this won’t last forever, but we have to take advantage of it while we’re here. Before we can do that, we have to figure out which masks are the best for our safety. Let’s consider what’s stylish after we determine what’s safe.
According to Jessica Schwind, an assistant professor of Epidemiology at Georgia Southern, masks are crucial to stopping the spread of this infection. “Masks serve two purposes. First, it may reduce the likelihood of breathing in infectious droplets from someone else’s cough or sneeze. However, most importantly, your mask keeps you from spreading the infection to others,” said Schwind.
Disposable Surgical Masks
There have been many different mask types to hit the market, and the disposable surgical masks are probably the most popular. They are also some of the most effective. According to Schwind, they do the job of preventing large particle droplets from spreading, but they must be worn properly (to cover your nose and mouth). They are also only meant to be worn once, so they’re not great for long-term or multiple uses.
Cotton masks with filters are the ideal mask, recommended by the CDC. They should fit snuggly without gaps, and luckily, with the multiple variations of cotton masks, these are the most fashionable.
N95 masks are high quality medical-grade masks. They work really well, but they are short in supply and should only be worn by medical professionals.
Cone style masks are similar to N95 masks, but they aren’t as effective. Studies show that they are more effective than a t-shirt or a make shift handkerchief mask, but less effective than a cotton mask.
T-shirt masks can be effective, but it depends on the quality of the fibers. They must be finely woven. Otherwise, they won’t do what they’re supposed to do. The best thing to do for t-shirt masks is to use one with multiple layers.
Bandanas aren’t even masks, but since it’s an option that some people use, you should know that they’re not the best option, nor are they the worst. They’re less effective than cotton masks, but they’re more effective than no mask at all. To increase effectiveness, try double or triple folding it. The more layers, the better.
Neck gaiters aren’t the best option for the job that a mask is supposed to do. Most of them are made of a polyester spandex material, which could actually increase the rat of droplet transmission compared to not wearing a mask at all. Instead of stopping the transmission of large respiratory droplets, neck gaiters tend to disperse them into smaller particles. So maybe just….stay away from these.
Masks with Exhalation Valves
Masks with exhalation valves are the worst option for a mask and should not be worn. These types of masks allow unfiltered air to escape, which completely defeats the purpose of wearing a mask. Stay away from these, too.
Keep these in mind for the winter. Apparently, we’re in for a crazy holiday season. Maybe take this time to restock on masks, so you can at least slay the holiday. You can get masks at virtually any store now, but Amazon and Etsy are undefeated if you’re looking for something stylish.