With COVID variants and travel ramping up for the holidays — mask wearing is in full swing. And for some of us it never really left. Because there is no end date to this virus, the officials at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend continued mask wearing for both unvaccinated and vaccinated individuals.
It’s always up for grabs whether this standard should be followed inside spaces, outside, or in poorly ventilated places, but it’s safe to say that masks will most likely be around for a while. In fact, earlier this year, the CDC recommended double masking to help America triumph over the pandemic. Therefore, understanding which one is the most efficacious will be paramount in protecting you from bacteria, germs, and COVID-19.
So how do you know what mask to select? Because it’s important to remain diligent about safety precautions while we navigate the pandemic, ahead, we break down all the factors you’ll need to update your face covering collection.
How should a face mask fit?
The CDC states that tight-fitting disposable medical masks (also known as surgical masks) can greatly reduce the spread of COVID-19 through airborne particles and respiratory droplets. The study even suggests it can lower transmission risks by up to 96% if everyone in public wore them. Regardless if you are choosing a trendy cloth mask or a disposable mask, the main thing you should look for is fit. For the highest protection, wear your mask as tight as you can (yes, ear ear loops can be knotted to better fit) to reduce the spread by an additional 25%.
What factors should I consider when buying a disposable mask?
The CDC officials and members of the study have tested hundreds of disposable face masks. Using one of their recommended face masks is your best option for construction and fit. If you’re looking for one of those, the language on the box will read, “Meets ASTM F2100.” While a two-ply mask is the minimum requirement, ideally you should get a three-ply face mask. Other factors to consider include:
- The masks ability to filter bacteria and/or trap sub-micron particles.
- The breathability of the masks.
- The resistance of the mask to liquid.
- The flammability of the mask.
How long can you wear a disposable mask?
I must admit, on weekend trips, I’ve grossly noticed friends wear the same disposable mask from breakfast, to brunch, drinks, dinner, and everything in between. I’ve been annoyed each time I’ve witnessed it and was beyond happy to report to them that they should not be used multiple times.
However, if you are using a mask more infrequently, you can get away with a couple uses before swapping it for a new one. But if you work out or used it at multiple locations throughout the day — the exposure to moisture in the max is too high to wear the same one.
For those of you traveling home this holiday season, here’s our in-flight skin care routine that is mask-friendly.