Face Masks: A Brief FAQ

It is a damning indictment of the times we live in that face masks have become so politicized. Encouraging face masks is a vital public health measure and something that everyone should be doing.

Unfortunately, some people consider themselves radical freethinkers and refuse to wear a mask. Some people just don’t understand the underlying science, but there is enormous political and social pressure on others.

Below are the answers to some basic but important questions about face masks and their role in the pandemic.

Do Face Masks Work?

There are many misconceptions about the role of face masks in battling the coronavirus pandemic. Some people think that a face mask makes them all but invincible.

Others consider them to be pointless, in spite of evidence to the contrary. Some people think, incorrectly, that face masks only protect the wearer and that by not wearing one, they are only putting themselves at risk.

There is now ample research showing that face masks make a big difference in pandemics. Unless you invest in some very expensive hazmat gear, no mask will give you perfect protection. However, masks significantly reduce the amount of the virus that infected people emit when coughing, talking, or even breathing.

Unless your face mask is rated for medical or surgical use, it won’t completely stop the virus. But it can greatly reduce the amount of virus that the wearer is exposed to. Because of this, masks wearers are much less likely to suffer from severe Covid-19 symptoms.

If I Wear a Face Mask, Do I Need to Socially Distance?

Even with a face mask on, you should socially distance wherever possible. Face masks should supplement social distancing rather than replace it.

Of course, we all know that it’s not always possible to maintain social distancing, especially at work. Wearing a face covering helps to minimize the spread of the virus in situations where social distancing isn’t possible.

Do I Need to Buy Medical-Grade Masks?

No, you don’t. People who are vulnerable to Covid-19 might want to invest in more robust protection, such as N95 respirators.

Respirators are the most expensive and most comprehensive protection available. These masks are rated for medical use and adhere to high standards accordingly. If a respirator is out of your budget, these reusable face masks with HEPA-grade filters from Lancs Industries are an excellent alternative. In fact, the internal HEPA layer is rated higher than the N95 respirators.

The next best option in terms of protection is a disposable face mask, often referred to as ‘surgical masks.’ These masks are not medical grade, and would therefore be unsuitable for a surgical setting. However, these disposable masks are considerably cheaper than respirators, making them a more realistic option for some people.

The next best option in terms of protection is a disposable face mask, often referred to as ‘surgical masks.’ These masks are not medical grade, and would therefore be unsuitable for a surgical setting. However, these disposable masks are considerably cheaper than respirators, making them a more realistic option for some people.

But, if all else fails, covering your face with just about anything is better than nothing. Homemade fabric face coverings will help to reduce the spread of the virus and can reduce the wearer’s exposure.

Hopefully this short guide has cleared up some of the issues surrounding face masks and their benefits.