How do masks protect you?

How Do Masks Protect You?

As the COVID-19 pandemic worsened in Singapore and the DORSCON level was changed to Orange, there was a large surge in demand for face masks islandwide as anxiety levels about our own health and safety increased, resulting in shops running out of mask supplies quickly. Fast forward to today, face masks have become a symbol of this pandemic era and the “new normal” when only a few months ago wearing a mask in public might have invited strange looks from others.

With mixed opinions about the efficacy of masks, we seek to explore how masks actually can protect you in this article by elaborating on a few main points.

woman in black hijab and orange jacket

How does COVID-19 spread?

Before we dive deep into how masks can help protect you, it is also important to know how the virus spreads in the first place to understand how face masks might work.

Once someone is infected, the virus strain Sars-CoV-2 virus hijacks that person’s cells to replicate itself. As the virus particles start to fester and multiply, they then exit the cells and become suspended in the bodily fluids in our mouths, noses and lungs. Therefore, when the person coughs, they then spray showers tiny droplets (also known as aerosols) that are filed with the virus into the air.

Worse still, the virus strain has been found by recent studies to survive in the aerosols for up to more than 16 hours and thus can still infect other people if the aerosol droplets are breathed in.

Supporting Evidence

Much evidence supporting the efficacy of masks has come from both laboratory studies and studies of real-world scenarios. An example of the former stems from an experiment using high-speed video, which found hundreds of droplets ranging from 20 to 500 micrometers created just from saying a simple phrase. However, nearly all of these droplets were blocked when the mouth was covered by a damp washcloth.

The strongest evidence has come from studies of real-world scenarios.

For instance, it was found in a study looking at 198 countries that those with cultural norms or government policies favouring the wearing of masks had lower death rates as a result of the coronavirus. Another recent study also found a slowdown in daily COVID-19 growth rates after mask mandates as compared to before, with a drop of 2% after just 3 weeks.

Case reports have also provided support for the wearing of masks. In one case, 2 hair stylists in Missouri who tested positive for COVID-19 were found to have had close contact with 140 clients. However, all 140 clients wore a mask and none of them were tested positive.

 

How do different types of masks protect you/others?

  • Damp homemade mask/ DIY alternatives
    • Can reduce the number of droplets that each of us generates when we speak
    • Example: A 600-thread-count pillowcase folded four times could filter out around 60% of air particles.
  • Surgical masks
    • Though not close-fitting, these masks are fluid resistant.
    • Provide some protection against larger respiratory droplets from coughs and sneezes.
    • Primarily prevents wearer from spreading infectious droplets to others.
  • Specialised, professional respirator masks like the N95 respirator or FFP-2 respirator mask
    • Prevent exposure to tiny droplets that can remain suspended in the air
    • Designed to passively filter out 94-95% of airborne particles, down to the size of 0.3 micrometres.

 

What to look out for when buying a mask?

For adequate protection, you should look for masks that are made with at least 2 layers of fabric. The mask should also cover your nose and mouths without a large gap.

At Kleio + Medicare, our reusable natural latex respirator mask combines several benefits that come from the different classes of masks. It helps to reduce contact exposure significantly, while ensuring comfort and breathability for the user, and is also reusable up to 60 times. Its bacteria filtration efficiency (BFE) and particle filtration efficiency (PFE) are 99.96% and 95.83% respectively.

The Kleio + MediCare™ Reusable Natural Latex Respirator Mask is made up of 4 Layers for utmost comfort, excellent breathability & most importantly, efficient protection against harmful bacteria, viruses as well as smog, dust & pollen.

Layer 1:  Made of microfibre, which is extremely efficient in collecting and trapping bacteria and viruses. Also durable, non-abrasive and lightweight.

Layer 2: Made of highly effective particle filter compound and is the mask’s heavyweight protection against harmful elements.

Layer 3: Made of an natural latex material, allows mask to provide complete coverage of user’s face and ensures that it is a good fit for the user.

Layer 4: Made of a cotton cloth material, providing a comfort feel to the user. Gentle and does not cause abrasions or irritation.

For more information, please refer to our website at https://www.kleiomedicare.com/. Also, if you order our Reusable Natural Latex Respirator Mask now, you can get a 15% discount. Protect your loved ones and community today, with Kleio + MediCare.