How do face masks work?

Face masks and face coverings reduce the fluid expelled in the air caused by a sneeze, cough, or a running nose. These masks slow the spreading of viral viruses to people close to one another.

According to relevant data from around the world, scientists and medical advisors back up the wearing of masks to stop the escalation of viral diseases, especially with the Covid-19 global situation.

There is a whole debate on the efficacity of wearing facial coverings. Regardless of differences in opinion, the facts speak for themselves: wherever people adhered to wearing face masks, maintaining social distancing, and a thorough cleansing process, there was a reduction in the number of people infected by the new Covid-19. If a high number of the population wear protective face masks, infected asymptomatic people will not spread the virus to others.

Wearing a face mask to stop Covid-19

Will wearing a face mask stop someone from getting COVID-19?

As much as we would like to believe that the masks will guard us against this new type of virus, there is no guarantee that this will happen. Wearing a mask only can not prevent people from being affected by this virus, these steps should also be taken into account:

  • Washing the hands frequently and for at least 20 seconds
  • Using a hand sanitiser with alcohol whenever washing is not possible
  • Maintaining a safe distance from others
  • Avoiding busy places/spaces
  • Avoiding close contact with people from other households
  • Refraining from touching eyes, mouth, and nose before a thorough washing
Wearing a face mask outdoors

People experiencing Covid symptoms like a persistent dry cough, fever, and loss of smell and taste should refrain from meeting other persons. Self-isolation plays a crucial part in preventing the rapid spread of this virus to the more vulnerable population.

Some people tend to use face masks excessively. For example, on TV, you often can spot reporters being outdoors, away from busy streets and cities, at a safe distance from anyone else, and still wearing a face mask. This makes communication harder, and it might look silly. The reason behind this could be the pressure to make the public realize the importance of wearing a mask everywhere.

Whilst demonstrating the need to wear a mask is acceptable, some users end up looking a bit over the top when walking alone outdoors, wearing a mask at a safe distance of more than 3 meters from other people. The most comical face mask-wearing tactic is by far the one where a single driver passes by wearing a mask, although isolated in a car on their own.

Face mask protection efficiency

The face masks’ ability to offer protection depends on how they have been designed and the type of material used.

Surgical disposable masks are said to be more effective against the humidity caused by expelled droplets. Together with the K95 masks, these were proved to reduce the outpouring of particles by nearly 90%, in relation to not wearing a mask at all – based on scientific research.

Cloth masks have a lower capacity for filtration, thus increasing the chances of spreading disease. However, they also proved efficient if made of three different layers, worn correctly, and washed after each use with soap and warm water.

In certain places like clinics, medical centres, beauticians, and some schools, workers are advised to wear a plastic shield/visor over the disposable mask. This is because their work requires extra protection from any fluids they might contact from patients, customers, or students.

Wearing a visor and a face mask might be the best way to protect others and the wearer. 

Wearing a face mask and visor

Where to buy face masks

Face masks are now easy to find anywhere; in various sizes, shapes and patterns, with different levels of protection and pricing variations:

  • At the local chemist
  • Pharmaceutical outlets
  • Supermarkets
  • Beauty shops
  • Fashion shops
  • Malls
  • Corner shops
  • Petrol stations
  • Online shops (eBay. Amazon, Etsy)
  • Directly from manufacturers
  • Members of public
Woman wearing a face mask

With so many items to choose from, people sometimes get confused by it all. The greatest the offer, the hardest is the choice.

When looking for a new protective mask, remember that face masks should make the wearer feel comfortable during the day whilst being secure and fit for the purpose. If opting for a fashion mask, check that it offers the protection you need. Otherwise, you will certainly have to add another layer under the fashion item for protection.