You won’t believe how these masks protect you from COVID-19! Number 3 is AMAZING.

The world’s kind of a crazy place at the moment– going into mass quarantine in fear of the COVID-19 pandemic. As much as we’d like to sit this one out, the economy runs the very real risk of tanking over our generation’s largest health crisis. Many of us, whether as essential workers or everyday folk leaving the house for food and supplies, need to face the world as it currently stands. It’s not a very safe place.


Despite this, we do have ways of staying relatively protected from the coronavirus. On top of necessary lifestyle changes that reduce non-essential movement, you could get a lot of mileage out of personal protective equipment (PPE). Masks in particular could be incredibly effective in situations where person to person interaction is unavoidable, and could curb the spread of COVID-19 by up to 85%.


Not all masks are created equal though, so you’re going to have to consider a number of things before choosing your loadout. Some masks may do better in one setting than others, and you’ll be limited by the kinds of activity you wish to engage in, as well as the PPE options available to you at any given time. Mask construction is going to be a huge factor here, so you may want to stay at home if the stuff you have on hand doesn’t work for the things you want to do.


Anything is better than nothing, but do take note of each style’s apparent limits. From repurposed material to off-the-shelf, and purpose-built solutions, there’s no excuse to stay unsafe. Now, let’s take a closer look at the types of masks you could use!

Better than nothing

This is the absolute bare minimum for protection, but any masks on this tier are better than nothing. Repurposed material such as handkerchiefs, bandanas, towels, and old shirts will do in a pinch, in case nothing better is available. Just note that fabrics like a regular layer of t-shirt cotton aren’t incredibly effective against coronavirus droplets. Improvised masks also have the disadvantage of not forming a particularly good seal around the nose and mouth area. Only consider if you have absolutely no other alternatives.


DIY options

It’s fascinating how creativity still manages to flourish at a time like this– with many crafting their own DIY masks that make for a snug fit, and in many cases either come with a dense mix of fabrics, or a pocket which allows for the installation of a replaceable filter. These can be up to 80% effective against infection. Always ask for pictures of the fit, as well as a detailed overview of the construction if you’re purchasing online.


Medical grade supplies

If you work or live with at-risk people, it might be worth investing in some actual medical-grade protection. They’re used in the medical field for a reason– they’re constructed with a tight mesh of tangled fibers that effectively filter pathogens. Disposable surgical masks are commonly available, but it’s worth investing in reusable N99 and N95 masks. While any one of these should guarantee a snug fit, the respirator and advanced mesh work found in the latter two makes for a reusable mask that’s anywhere from 90-99% effective against infection.


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