From August 2, it is required that those who live in the state of Victoria wear a mask when they leave the house. Those who are not wearing a face mask without a valid reason may be subject to a $200 fine.
It is highly recommended that those in New South Wales follow similar guidelines, especially if they are not able to social distance.
These are the guidelines set in place, so what are the best masks to purchase? Is a disposable face mask better than a cloth mask?
In this blog post, we’ll discuss why a disposable face mask is the best choice to protect yourself and your family during this world crisis.
When Should You Wear a Face Mask?
A face mask should be worn whenever you leave home. While they are not required in all states, they are highly suggested.
Even though you are wearing a face mask, ensure that you still maintain 1.5 meters between yourself and those not in your household. You should also continue to wash your hands and practice good hand washing hygiene.
Who Is Exempt From Wearing a Mask?
Children under the age of 12 do not need to wear a mask. That said, they are not immune from contracting and spreading coronavirus. Children over 2 years old can wear a face mask, and we do have special small masks for children available in our online store.
If you have trouble breathing or a past trauma prevents you from wearing a mask, you are also exempt.
If you have a breathing condition, like asthma, it is suggested that you try and wear a mask before discounting them altogether. Many people find that while a little uncomfortable at first, they are still able to wear a mask despite their prior breathing issues.
However, if you find you cannot tolerate it at all, or that simple exercises make you breathless, then you may class yourself as exempt.
What Type of Mask Should I Wear? Are Cloth Face Masks or Disposable Face Masks a Better Choice?
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you’re likely inundated with ads online for face masks. Should you buy a bandana? Should you buy a cute fabric one with a fun design? Should you buy the latter with a filter pocket in it? What about a disposable face mask or a respirator?
While all of these masks are acceptable for wear for the general public, fabric masks are not as good as disposable face masks for protection.
Fabric face masks do offer some protection, in that they keep someone who is may have COVID19 from spraying their respiratory droplets. This is especially important considering we do not know how contagious those who have COVID19 but are asymptomatic are.
However, disposable face masks, especially those that are similar or the same as worn in hospitals, are the best at protecting. This is because they not only protect other people from you, but they also protect you from other people much better than a fabric mask would.
A 2008 study has confirmed that while homemade fabric masks do offer protection, the best protection does come from disposable face masks.
Disposable face masks cannot be reused, which means that when you throw them away, you throw away all of the germs on them. Each time you wear a mask, you’ll put on a fresh and clean one.
Can I Wear an N95/P2 Respirator Mask?
N95 respirator masks do offer a high level of protection and are similar to disposable or surgical mask. This is because these masks are not only masks but respirators. They help filter out 95% of small particles in the air, making them fantastic for those who are concerned about people who are not wearing face masks. The difference with these masks is that they provide more comprehensive protection as the masks seals around your face, whereas with a surgical face mask there are gaps on the sides.
There are clear downsides of these masks. Firstly, you must have them fitted in order to ensure that they’re filtering out particles correctly. This is not always possible, especially if bought online. They can also be problematic for asthmatics or those who have breathing difficulties to wear. Most people can breathe through cloth or surgical masks, but for some, a P2 or N95 will be a bit more difficult. It will become even more so when the respirator fills up and needs to be changed.
Both must also be thrown away after each use, but the N95s are more expensive, making it tempting to reuse it.
Disposable masks are easier to breathe in and are cheaper. As such, they are preferable for the general population. Additionally, as they don’t need to be fitted, you can order them from the Internet without worrying if they’re the correct size for your face or if you’ve formed the appropriate seal.
P2s and N95 respirators can be difficult for small adults, children over the age of 12 and those with facial hair to wear correctly. Because of this, you, disposable face masks are a better option for the majority of people.
How to Properly Wear a Face Mask
While wearing a face mask is undoubtedly better than not doing so at all, some protocol must be followed to keep the spread of COVID at bay.
Before you put on the disposable face mask, you’ll want to wash your hands with soap and water. You can use alcohol-based hand wash, but soap and water is your best bet.
You’ll then need to dry your hands thoroughly before putting on a new disposable face mask.
Before putting on the face mask, find the top of it. This is the area where the stiff part is, or where there is a metal piece. Some masks may not have these and are fine either way.
A disposable mask will also have a coloured side and a lighter side. The darker side should always face away from you, and the lighter side on your face.
Make sure your nose, mouth and chin are covered with the disposable face mask and that it is on your face comfortably, but is not too loose. Make sure there are no gaps on either side of your mask, and that the ear loops are over your ears.
Removing a Disposable Mask
When you remove a disposable mask, it is paramount that you wash your hands with an alcohol-based soap, or to wash them with soap and water. You do not want to take your mask off with dirty hands. This can cause you to spread bacteria on your face and puts you at risk of smearing your face with COVID19 germs.
You should also remove your mask and dispose of it in a secure location. It is best to dispose of it in a bin with a lid, as you do not want the mask flying out and spreading contaminated litter around and throughout the general public.
What Not to Do When Wearing a Disposable Face Mask
When wearing a disposable face mask, try not to touch your face. While it may be tempting, this can pass germs from your mask and to your fingers and vice versa. If the mask is bothering you too much, you’ll need to take it all of the way off following the above protocol and put a new mask on.
You should always remove your mask if it becomes wet for any reason. If the mask becomes contaminated, for example, if someone sneezes on you, you should replace it immediately; again, this should only be done following the above protocol.
Do not pull the mask down to talk to people or to touch your face for any other reason. If you must remove your mask, you should put on a fresh one.
Additionally, you should not wear your mask so that it is only over your mouth and not your nose. This renders the mask useless, as you can still ingest bacteria through the nose, and you can still spread bacteria to other people from your nose. Your mask should be over your nose and mouth at all times when you’re wearing it.
Lastly, make sure you never share a mask, even with a spouse. Do not wear a torn mask, a dirty mask or a damp mask.
The Benefits of Disposable Face Masks
A disposable face mask, especially those of high grade, is the best line of defence for the general population. They are also perfect for those who are vulnerable and who wish to have a little bit of added protection from COVID19.
Our Level 2 surgical masks are the best surgical masks when it comes to protecting yourself from the novel Coronavirus. However, our less expensive disposable masks are still useful when it comes to being out and about. As you can throw them away after each use, they are perfect for ensuring your mask is hygienic.