Designer face masks and bandanas vs high filtration surgical masks – Comparing the efficacy

designer-face-mask
designer face mask

Just within few months after the pandemic broke out rampantly, what once was a healthcare necessity has today become a fashion statement. The past few months have witnessed a rapid evolution of face masks – from flimsy ones to the ones with respirators and then came the printed designer masks. Wearing face masks has become a part of the new normal and therefore, the idea of wearing it also seem to be changing, with people who are relatively more fashion-conscious opting for those masks that go with their outfit.

With that said, the question remains – Are designer face masks as effective as the traditional ones? For this, the foremost thing to keep in mind is the fact that our prime purpose of wearing masks is to protect ourselves and others safe and contain the spread of virus. So long as your mask ticks all the right boxes, regardless of whether it is bought at a pharmacy or a clothing boutique, healthcare professionals opine that it shouldn’t be of any problem. Firstly, it should be thick enough and made with multiple layers of fabric. However, more importantly, it should be breathable and washable, if made from cloth and needless to mention the fact that, it should properly rest under your chin and on your nose bridge.

The problem with N95 and surgical masks is that one cannot wear them for a long period of time due to discomfort. On the other hand, designer face masks are not something that everyone can afford to buy. Thus, many people resort to wearing scarves or bandanas. However, it is to be noted that the effectiveness of the latter varies. According to an article at Harvard Business Review, bandanas and scarves primarily function as ‘source control’. They provide the person wearing it with some protection from particles coming in, but mainly reduce how much the wearer expels.” Therefore, what we need is masks that can block the virus from both coming in and going out. From this, one thing is certain – high-filtration surgical masks or N95 masks are the most apt for general population.

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