Scientists found that wearing masks and maintaining social distance significantly helped to control the spread of SARS-CoV-2, a virus that causes COVID-19. What's more important to know is that mask-wearing is helpful beyond reducing the spread of illnesses.
Apart from preventing or lowering the risk of germ spread, wearing a respiratory protection mask can help you protect yourself from pollution and allergens. Here's everything you need to know, including who should wear masks, which masks work best, and how to wear them properly.
Advantages of wearing a mask
Wearing a mask has many general benefits. The main benefit of it is that it saves you from inhaling any respiratory hazards like particles of dust or smoke and germs. Additionally, masks can protect others and reduce the spread of infections if you have any existing illness.
Protects you from poor air quality
A mask can protect the respiratory system and general health when pollutants cause bad air quality. The bad air quality category ranges from moderate to hazardous on the Air Quality Index (AQI). As per the Clean Air Act regulations, the AQI measures levels of the following pollutants -
- Carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide: gases that are released from motor vehicles and industrial processes
- Ground-level ozone: gas from the atmosphere, also called smog, when it reaches the ground
- Particle pollution: particles of nitrate, sulfate, carbon, and mineral dust chemicals.
Reduces exposure to allergens
If you have pollen allergies, wearing a mask can reduce allergen exposure. The mask that covers your nose can help filter out pollen or irritants. Masks also change the temperature and moisture level of the air you breathe in, further reducing the symptoms of allergy.
Prevents you from getting sick
Infectious diseases have all the chances to spread from exposure to the droplets containing the germs that cause the diseases. Masks protect you from getting sick by blocking droplets from actions such as breathing, sneezing, coughing, or talking.
One research summary discussed studies related to masks and COVID. The findings indicated that individuals who wore masks experienced partial protection from exposure to infectious droplets released by others carrying the virus. This protection was not found in the one not using a mask at all.
A respiratory protection mask protects immunocompromised individuals by reducing or preventing exposure to germs that can make them sick. These people have weaker immune systems that do not work very well. The immune system dysfunction may occur due to the following reasons -
- Chronic diseases like diabetes or cancer
- Immunologic conditions such as HIV
- Therapies that suppress the immune system like radiation therapy
Saves you from spreading germs
Just like masks can prevent you from getting sick, they can also save you from spreading germs if you're already ill. Wearing a mask decreases the chances that you'll exhale and spread germs into the air surrounding you.
Who should wear a mask?
All healthy kids and adults, men and women, should wear a mask when necessary. If you are already sick or at risk of getting sick, you should talk to a doctor to know if and when to wear a mask.
The following people may not be able to wear a mask:
- Children under the age of 2
- People who cannot remove a mask or wear one without help
- People who have breathing issues
- People who are sensitive to having something on their face
Which types of masks are the most effective?
A good mask should fit well and balance, being neither tight nor loose. Its filtration capacity determines its effectiveness, measured as a percentage of particles and droplets filtered. The most reliable respiratory protection masks are those approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), known for their tight fit and filtration rates typically exceeding 95%. International filtering respirators are a viable alternative, providing at least 80% filtration and a snug fit.
However, other options like barrier face coverings and disposable and cloth masks may have varying filtration capacities and must fit more securely.
How to properly wear a mask
To ensure you are properly wearing the mask, follow these tips
- Choose a mask with multiple layers and a nose wire to get a good fit on your face.
- Wash your hands before putting on the face mask.
- Check for any damage, and use a new one if there are any defects
- Ensure that the mask covers your nose and mouth once in place. It should sit comfortably on the face.
The bottom line
Face masks are so important for many reasons. They protect you from infections, germs, diseases, dirt, and pollution. A suitable respiratory protection mask can be your best friend. It minimizes your risk of catching infections and allergies. Discover the range of face masks at Westcarb Enterprises today!