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Back to School With a Mask


Change is hard to get used to. But, with a little effort, you can adapt to many new things. One example of a big change is the way schools are running these days. They offer a completely different experience from what we are used to. Children must wear a school mask if they want to go to class.

Here’s how you can help your child get used to wearing a mask to school.

1. Beat the Fear

Facial coverings are designed to keep people safe, but they also hide a person’s face. This can be intimidating for a child. Children rely on their facial expressions to communicate. However, with a face mask, they can’t see the familiar faces and friendly smiles. This is unnatural and scary for them. These tips will help beat the fear.

Help the Child Get Accustomed to Masks

Wearing a facial covering can be difficult for a young child, even in short bursts. Therefore, practice becomes a key strategy. Ask the child to practice wearing the facial covering before they go outside. Teach them how to take it off and put it back on.

Share the importance of wearing a mask so that the child will realize why they are doing it. With regular wear, the struggle subsides, and they get used to it through routine.

Add a Personal Touch

Children need to feel comfortable with a face mask. Encouraging them to decorate is the best way to give them a sense of ownership. Tell your child to draw, put stickers, or bedazzle the mask. With it, they can show their creative side and obtain some level of control. They can also put their name on it so others know who they’re speaking to!

Introduce Playfulness

Fear can be a real setback. But, making the mask a fun experience can add an additional layer of safety. For example, play pretend with your child. Ask them to be a nurse or a doctor and to wear a mask while they care for you or a stuffed animal. Relying on “doctor kits” and favorite toys can be a great way of helping a child relax.

Implement a Sense of Security

Impulsive children tend to act without thinking. They may pull off the mask when they argue with friends without even realizing it. To fix the problem, apply a breakaway lanyard to the elastic strap of the mask. So, even if the child pulls the mask off, it won’t be lost and the facial covering will remain on their person. This can be used as a reminder for the child to put the mask back on.

Note: Do not create fear when a child wears a mask. Try to present it as a new but important habit for keeping themselves healthy during the pandemic. If you take a positive approach, the child is more likely to follow your example.

2. Find the Perfect Fit

Here is how to find a mask that will fit a child’s face.

Comfortable but Snug Fit

The mask must comfortably wrap around the child’s nose and mouth. There shouldn’t be any openings or loose ends. A poor fit will only encourage the child to use their hands to readjust the mask, exposing them to dangerous pathogens and contamination.

Smaller Size

Look for children’s masks designed to cover a smaller face. They must go over the nose and cover each side of the face. With adequate adjustment, there will be no fogging on their glasses.

No Pain

When the straps are too tight, they can hurt the back of the ears and the nose. A comfortable face mask doesn’t put that much pressure on these points. It doesn’t leave a mark or cause redness of the skin.

The Right Material

The mask is supposed to feature 3 to 4 textured cotton layers. Anything more than that will be too thick and cause trouble breathing. Fewer layers create bigger chances for exposure. So, opt for tightly-woven material with enough layering.


Do not use any small decorations or straps that may pose a choking hazard. It’s critical that the mask uses only comfortable materials to be safe to use.

3. Overcome the Sensory Issues

A child with sensory processing difficulties will have trouble tolerating the closeness, smell, and feel of a mask. This creates extreme discomfort and forces them to fiddle with the covering. That’s why children result to meltdowns, because they are trying to communicate discomfort. This is where small-dose practice helps.

Create a Custom Mask

By taking the child’s sensitivities into account, you can make your own face mask. Some parents tend to use the child’s old T-shirts. The pattern, material, and smell can be very comfortable. It provides reassurance for those who can’t get used to commercial facial coverings.

Consider Alternatives

If the child still can’t tolerate a face mask, relying on alternatives can prove useful. Products like face shields are a great way to protect their health. Also, using a Plexiglass divider in smaller rooms can give children their necessary break from wearing a face mask. It can boost their focus and help them get accustomed to wearing a facial covering.

4. Adjusting the Face Mask

The mask is constantly exposed to droplets and hazardous pathogens. When a child sneezes or coughs, the material acts as a barrier against these pathogens. But, it’s not a total method of protection. The eyes are still vulnerable and exposed to the virus. If the child doesn’t adjust the mask properly, they risk transferring the infection from their hands into their body.

Before and after a child touches the mask, they should wash their hands with soap and water. This will help get rid of the germs and avoid infections.

The safest way to readjust the facial covering is to hold the mask by the ear loops—one hand on each side. The face mask should completely cover the mouth and nose. There shouldn’t be any gaps between the skin and the face mask. The same tactic can be used when removing the face mask.



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Do Masks Affect Your Breathing?

mask up

Face masks have become mandatory in public places across the globe to stop the spread of COVID-19. However, it’s not uncommon to come across claims that face masks cause breathing problems and contribute to complications. Do they really affect your breathing and deplete the availability of oxygen? You’ll find out below.

Do face masks affect our lungs?

Although face masks are not pleasant to wear for some people, they are not depleting your availability to access oxygen. A study from the October 2020 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association confirmed that wearing nonmedical face masks doesn’t harm your breathing. In the study, 25 subjects self-measured peripheral oxygen saturation before, while, and after wearing a three-layer nonmedical mask.

All subjects were older adults, who are at a higher risk of getting infected with COVID-19 and more vulnerable to any decrease in oxygen levels from mask-wearing. They wore portable pulse oximeters, which measure blood oxygen levels. Scientists found no concerning signs of hypoxia, decreased oxygen levels. On average, oxygen saturation was 96.1% before participants wore a mask, 96.5% while they were wearing a mask, and 96.3% after wearing a nonmedical mask. The study confirmed that face masks are not dangerous.

That’s not the only study that confirmed wearing face masks doesn’t harm your lungs and breathing. One research focused on testing the effect of wearing surgical masks on gas exchange. Gas exchange is the process wherein the body adds oxygen to the blood while removing carbon dioxide. For more accurate results, the investigators enrolled 15 healthy physicians and 15 military veterans with severely impaired lungs. Findings revealed neither the healthy doctors nor the subjects with diseased lungs experienced major changes in the gas exchanged measurements after a six-minute fast-paced walking test.

Why do I feel discomfort when wearing a mask?

Some people do feel discomfort while wearing a face mask, but it’s not a sign of lowered oxygen levels or increased carbon dioxide. Instead, the discomfort you experience could result from irritation of sensitive facial nerves, warming inhaled air, or induced feelings of claustrophobia. Most people aren’t used to wearing face masks. The sensation of having a mask on the face could make someone uncomfortable and anxious.

Even though our breathing is unconscious and controlled by a respiratory center, our mind can also influence it. When we feel discomfort, even on a subconscious level, it can change the way we breathe. For example, if we think there’s no air, or that it’s difficult to breathe under a mask, we are susceptible to psychosomatic effects. These factors are not a source of concern, which is why you should always wear a mask in public to protect yourself and others.


Face masks do not reduce our oxygen levels, studies confirm. The discomfort we feel results from various factors, none of which are a source of concern. Take slower, longer breaths, and try to breathe through your nose to reduce the discomfort you experience. Make sure to wash reusable masks regularly and avoid wearing the same disposable mask multiple times.

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When to Clean and Change Face Masks: Cloth, N95, and Surgical Mask Proper Use Tactics

People maskup

The need to wear a mask has skyrocketed in the last couple of months. A recent survey shows that 72% of American adults are either wearing a face mask when they go out in public or are always wearing one due to their constant exposure to the virus at work.

Ever since the pandemic broke out, people had to take the recommended precautions to fend off COVID-19. These facial coverings have become a necessity, so it is essential to know how to clean them properly.

If you want to know more about cleaning and changing the face masks, you’ve come to the right place. We prepared a simple guideline that will help you figure out how to take proper care of your face mask.

Cloth mask

How Often Do I Clean My Cloth Mask?

Cloth face masks are the go-to choice for many people. They are reusable, convenient, and practical for outdoor and indoor public spaces. Although you can re-use them for a long time, it’s still critical to clean the cloth masks properly.

Experts advise that you clean the cloth face mask after every use, or at least after every day of wear. You can wash the fabric by hand with some detergent or soap and warm water. A standard detergent will do. Or, you can toss it in the washing machine at preferably 60 °C (140°F). Feel free to use a hot dryer setting.

You can also sterilize the mask by soaking it in detergent and room temperature water and then boil it for 1 min. Another alternative would be to soak the fabric in 0.1% chlorine for a minute and rinse the product completely. This will help remove any of the chlorine residues.

Once the cloth mask gets damaged or loose, discard it.

Can I Use a Disinfectant on My Cloth Mask?

Even though you might be tempted to wipe the face mask with a disinfectant, it’s not a good idea. People who are in a pinch and use a disinfectant may end up breathing in dangerous chemicals. So, it is best to set aside the used mask and take another. Washing the mask should be a top priority.

Can I Sterilize and Reuse Disposable Face Masks?

No. These masks are meant for single use. After you’ve applied the product to the face, you should remove it and dispose of it immediately. If it gets too expensive, switch to a cloth mask instead. It is a better money-saving technique. 

Can I Re-Use N95 Respirators?

N95 masks are primarily used by healthcare professionals. Although they too are disposable, the CDC stated that it is safe to extend their use for up to 8h. But, to make sure that the user remains protected from invading pathogens, it’s best to use a face shield and reduce the risk of soiling the N95 mask prematurely.

Since COVID-19 loses its viability after 72h, experts have suggested a re-use and rotation strategy. But only if the mask hasn’t been soiled or contaminated. You can re-use the N95 a maximum of 5 times. After which you will have to change it. 

How Often Do I Clean My N95?

Purchase a set of a minimum of five N95 masks and rotate their use every day. Studies show that these masks can be steam cleaned for 5 min at 125°C (257°F). Anything longer than that can damage the mask.

After cleaning, let them dry completely until the pathogens are no longer viable. That will take over 72h. The ideal drying strategy would be to hang the masks. You can also store them in a breathable and clean paper bag to prevent contamination.

Each mask shouldn’t touch the other while it is drying. It’s critical to avoid sharing the respirator with anyone in the family. Otherwise, you risk contaminating the mask from bodily fluids. If the product has been damaged or contaminated, throw it away.

Final Thoughts

Since face masks too can become contaminated, it is crucial that you take good care of them. Washing the cloth mask can get rid of all those particles and prevent the respiratory illness from infecting your system. But, you shouldn’t wash a surgical mask. The disposable products are designed for single use. At the same time, the N95 respirators can be re-used. Now that you know the adequate cleaning and replacement strategies, you can make the most of your preferred face mask.

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Mask Fashion with HAT! You Can’t Miss Out On!

Mask fashion

Whether you like it or not, wearing masks has become the new normal. That doesn’t mean that you can’t incorporate some fashion alongside wearing a mask. Pairing a hat with a mask gives you the option to look very discreet and ultra-stylish at the same time.

Here are a few ways to pair a mask and a hat together to look super fashionable and stay safe at the same time!

French Chic

Mask Fashion - French Chic

Channel the artisan inside you and pair your mask with a lovely beret. The Zara Wool Blend-Black Beret is an excellent option for anyone looking to channel some French Chic. It’s also super easy to pair with any outfit.

The Wool Blend is super soft and ensures that you remain warm and cozy during the winters. It’s the perfect outfit that’ll bring out your artistic personality. Anyone can wear a beret and immediately start looking more intellectual. The hat sits perfectly on the top of your head as well, so it doesn’t give the impression that you’re trying to hide your face.

Canadian Warm

In colder climates, wearing a hat isn’t just about being fashionable; it’s a necessary part of staying warm. This fuzzy white hat is the perfect accessory to pair with your mask to stay warm during the winters. Its bucket style gives off a very chill vibe and can work perfectly with a white scarf.

It looks especially cute with a mask because the bucket style doesn’t fall over the eyes and lets them remain visible. Hats are a must-have accessory during the winter and look adorable paired with any winter outfit. Getting to stay warm when your outdoors is also definitely a bonus.

The Elegant Hepburn

Mask fashion - The Elegant Hepburn

Who wouldn’t want to channel the style of Hollywood beauties of the past? Embrace your best Audrey Hepburn with a lovely Maison Michel Black fedora hat. The hat is classy and features a simple white ribbon across.

Accessorize to the max when you’re wearing this hat because it’ll enhance the look. It’ll pair brilliantly with some pearl earrings, long black leather gloves, and black sunglasses. Once again, the hat fits perfectly with a mask because the hate leaves more than enough room for the eyes to be visible. The lovely hat works perfectly when you want to dress up and look your elegant best.

The Handsome Girl

Mask Fashion - Handsome Girl

Sometimes instead of being elegant and graceful, you want to go outside with some attitude. That’s where the Ruslan Baginskiy black baker boy hat comes into the picture. Pair this brilliant hat with a leather jacket to give off a proper biker look.

The hat style ensures that it manages to provide shade to the eyes, but it doesn’t come in front of the eyes. You also have the option to wear the hat backward for a completely different look.


Wearing masks has become a modern necessity because of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t make masks seem very fashionable. Pairing with the proper hat can be an ideal way of styling your mask!

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Why Is It Important for Children to Wear Face Masks?

ASTM Level 2 Procedure Face Mask for Kids

In light of the recent Covid-19 pandemic, and as per CDC recommendations, all individuals must wear face masks to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. These recommendations are also extended to children who are susceptible to the virus and can quickly spread it as well. It is next to impossible to keep your child indoors for nearly an entire year.

At some point, kids will be exposed to the outside world, and perhaps even with someone who has been infected with the coronavirus. This is especially true, considering how unsure most countries around the world are about reopening schools, it is essential for parents to reinforce protective practices in their children so that they stay safe from this deadly virus.

One of the most important methods of preventing this disease’s spread is by wearing a face mask! This includes getting your child to wear one as well. 

What Kind of Face Mask Should Your Child Wear?

According to the World Health Organisation, kids who do not have any underlying health issues can wear non-medical or fabric masks. However, the best kind of mask for your child would be one that offers adequate protection and is easy to breathe in as well.

Level 2 masks that have an adjustable nose bar and elastic ear loops are perfectly suited for children to wear. They are also the safest and most comfortable masks you could use for your child.

Three-layered masks made from non-woven fabric and filter material should always be given priority over other kinds of face masks for children. This is because such masks offer excellent protection against bacteria and viruses like the coronavirus while being breathable and comfortable to wear. Having colorful masks can also encourage kids to wear them more often. 

When Should Kids Wear Masks?

It’s recommended that children always keep a mask on when stepping out of their homes. Nonetheless, at times, some parents may wish to remove their child’s facemask for a while. However, kids should always have a face mask on under the following circumstances:

  • If a distance of more than 6 ft cannot be maintained
  • If your child is in a crowded area or an indoor environment that isn’t their home
  • If your child is exhibiting symptoms related to the coronavirus such as dry cough and fever
  • If stated by law 

The Perfect Mask for Your Kid

Wearing a face mask is essential for kids to protect them from the Covid19 pandemic. However, not all masks are suitable for kids and maybe uncomfortable for them to wear and breathe in. Soothy Garden’s ASTM Level 2 Procedure Face Mask for Kids is an excellent product when it comes to protective face masks for children.

Not only are these facemasks colorful and fun, but they are also made from the best quality non-woven fabric and filter material. Making them breathable and soft yet highly effective. Their adjustable nose bar and elastic ear loops ensure that the mask remains firmly in place over your child’s nose and mouth, and they remain safe from all sorts of bacteria and viruses.  

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How Is Melt-Blown Used To Make Masks And The National Technical Standard Of Masks


The melt-blown process is a term that’s seeing an increasing amount of research these days. What was once an obscure fabric is now one of the most in-demand materials in the world.

Melt-blow extrusion is the full name of the manufacturing process. It creates a type of fabric that falls under the category of non-woven fabric that’s made of polymers. These polymers are known as polypropylene.

Traditional fabrics are often made using natural materials like silk or cotton that are woven together. Non-woven fabrics, in this case, melt-blown fabric, are thermally bound together material created from individual fibers of molten polymers. The end result is a fabric that has a web-like structure, and it becomes desirable for a number of reasons. These are absorbency, bacterial protection, cushioning, resilience, softness, and sterility. They’re also washable as well.

Given the different numbers of features they offer, there are a number of diverse products that can be made using the melt-blown fabric. These include filters, face masks, medical masks, and surgical masks as well. The versatility of the cloth means that it’s used to produce many different products. However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the main use of melt-blown fabric is now in the production of masks. If you’re looking to learn more about how the melt-brown process is used to make face masks, then keep on reading!

How Is Melt-Blown Fabric Made?

Melt-blown fabric is created through a process which is known as melt-blown extrusion. It is a single-step process that involves a stream of high-velocity air, that blows molten thermoplastic resin from extruder tip. The resulting material goes onto a conveyor or a take-up screen. It’s a process that’s been around since 1950 and has never been more important until today.

There are four basic components of the process; these are the resin feed system, extruder assembly, metering pump, melt-blown die assembly, collector, and the winder unit.

Resin Feed System

Thermoplastic resin is the main raw material for the melt-blown process. There are several different polymers that are adaptable for use in the melt-blown extrusion process. The different polymers include; Polypropylene, Polycarbonate, Polybutylene terephthalate, and Polyamide, among others.

Extruder Assembly

Raw material from the resin feed system is fed into the extruder assembly. There are three different zones in the assembly. These are the feed zone, transition zone, and metering zone. The feed zone is where material enters the extruder and begins to melt.

In the transition zone, the polymer is homogenized and compressed. Once the polymer enters the molten state, it’s fed into the metering zone. The pressure increases as the material are getting ready for discharge through the melt-blown die assembly.

Metering Pump

The molten polymer output enters the metering pump pressurized and, at a temperature of 250-300C, enters the metering pump. This pump is designed to deliver clean polymer mix to the die assembly at a constant volume.

It’s a sophisticated piece of machinery that accounts for variations in pressure, temperature, and viscosity. After the metering pump, the resulting output is feed into the die assembly.

Melt-Blown Die Assembly

The die assembly contains three key components; the feed distribution, die nosepiece, and the air manifolds. An absolutely critical component is the die nosepiece. It impacts the uniformity of the web of melt-blown fabric coming out of the machine. The air manifolds then supply high-velocity hot air to the extruded fibers.


The high-velocity hot air causes the polymer to turn into microfibers. These microfibers have a diameter that ranges from 0.1 to 15 microns.

Winder Unit

The last step of the process is the winder unit, where the fabric from the collector is wound onto a cardboard core.

Now that you’ve learned how the material is made, we can move on to how you manufacture the masks.

How Is Melt-Blown Fabric Used To Make Masks?

The non-woven melt-brown fabric is the primary material used in the production of medical masks and surgical masks. Medical Masks are typically produced by stacking together three layers of non-woven material. The inner layer, which comes in contact with the wearer’s face, absorbs any moisture.

While the outer layer of non-woven fabric is a waterproof barrier that stops any liquids, the patient spills out. In between the inner layer and the outer layer is the middle layer that serves as a filter. This middle layer is where the melt-blown fabric comes into action.

Additionally, for face masks that meet technical standards, they also get electret treatment. The process adds electrostatic properties to the filter, which enables the electrostatic absorption, which helps trap aerosolized particles through electrostatic attraction.

The mask-making process follows seven basic process steps; these are the same for surgical masks and medical masks. All the steps in the process are as follows;

  • The machine combines three layers of materials together to produce the three-layer face masks. It’s initially a large piece of fabric that needs to go through the cooking process.
  • Attach a metal nose strip. The machine has to stitch the metal wire into the melt-blown fabric face masks. These metal strips are crucial for masks as they allow the wearer to bend the mask to fit around their nose.
  • Add the necessary folds and pleats. Once again, the machine will use a folding device that adds all the requirements. It allows companies to adjust the standard mask to fit all the different wearers.
  • Cutting and stitching. The next step in the process is cutting the large piece of three-material fabric to individual size masks. After the cutting process, you can stitch the melt-blown fabric to join all the layers.
  • Attach Ear Loops. These are crucial as they need to stick to the mask properly. To ensure they stick, the adhesive makes use of a thermal press. Alternatively, companies can make use of ultrasonic welding.
  • Disinfect properly. If face masks need to meet the technical standard, they must be subjected to a sterilization process. After this treatment, the mask needs to stay in isolation for seven days until the ethylene oxide dissipates.
  • This is the final step in the process, and it involves simply packaging the completed masks for shipment.

In the case of N95 respirators, the process is slightly different and involves the use of a polyester shell and cover web. The key in all the masks is the melt-blown fabric filtration layer.

Due to the dense structure of the fabric, it helps ensure that the smallest particles are filtered out at high efficiency. It’s because of these characteristics that the fabric is crucial for filtering viruses and any other pathogens.

Currently, the worldwide demand for face masks that meet a technical standard is very high. It is currently greatly outweighing the supply. Even though companies are trying to switch towards face mask production, there’s still a need for a greater focus on producing more medical masks. Now that you know more about how these masks are produced, you’ll also want to know the technical standard for masks in different countries.

United States

ASTM International is providing no-cost public access to important ASTM standards that are used in the production and testing of masks. These included several test specifications that analyze different features of the mask.

 The tests include an efficiency test of materials used, bacterial filtration efficiency, and standard specifications for the performance of materials used in the mask. However, most of these specifications apply to the high-quality masks that are available in the market.

The CDC recommends that the general public should not use these masks, and should restrict themselves to using standard cloth face masks. These generally don’t need to meet any standard requirements except the standard terminology specifications of protective clothing.


China formulated these following standards for medical face masks: GB19082-2009 technical requirements for single-use protective clothing. The other standards deal more directly with medical face masks.

These are the GB19083-2010 technical requirements, YY/T0969-2013 single-use medical face mask, and YY0469-2011 surgical masks. China is also currently in the midst of updating its technical standards for the masks. They’ve also included a new designation for masks specifically designed for children.

Medical masks also regulated under the category of Class II medical device in China. According to the government’s guidelines, a manufacturing enterprise needs to obtain production licenses issued by a provincial drug regulatory department before production.


The European Committee for standardizations and the European Committee for electrotechnical standardization came together to come up with 14 technical standards that apply to medical masks. They’re hoping the actions will help both EU companies and third-country companies to adhere to a minimum standard of production.

11 of the standards developed have been worked on by CEN while three additional ones are developed jointly with ISO. All these standards are also available for free for public access.


There’s a massive demand for high-quality medical masks given the current climate. The demand is only going to increase as more and more countries encourage their populations to wear masks.


As manufacturers try to operate at optimum capacity to produce as many masks as possible, it’s important that they adhere to international standards as well. Each country has its own specification, but they generally tend to follow the same guidelines!

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Cloth face masks VS Medical Masks

Medical masks are originally intended to be used by medical practitioners when treating patients to prevent bacteria from droplets from the doctor’s or nurse’s mouth or nose to the patient. However, with the spread of COVID-19 all around the world, the general population, whether ill or not, are advised or even mandated in certain countries, to wear masks to protect themselves and others from the deadly epidemic.

Cloth face Mask vs. Medical Mask

Most people wear general masks made of cloth to cover their mouth and nose when going out during this epidemic, but is it that effective in blocking the virus from entering your system?

Verifiable research about the spread of the virus is still lacking since the spread of this epidemic. Some research points out that the virus is contained in droplets and can be spread when sneezing or coughing from those who have the symptoms, or through talking or even just breathing from asymptomatic carriers. Other researches have pointed out the possibility that the virus can linger suspended in the air for a few hours before it settles on the ground.

Whichever the case is, wearing general cloth masks may not provide you the needed protection against Coronavirus because it offers low protection barrier, no filtration properties and low fluid resistance as droplets can easily pass through it along with the viruses and bacteria. Furthermore, cloth masks don’t always fit properly, allowing tiny airborne particles to enter and exit the mask through the gaps.

Why Choose Our Medical Masks?

To ensure you have higher protection against COVID-19, use high-quality medical masks that offer:

Effective Filtration

Choose medical masks with high bacterial and viral filtration efficiency, preferably with more than 98% efficiency. This ensures dust, bacteria, virus, dust, smoke, pollen are do not enter your system.

Easy Breathing

High-quality medical masks do not make breathing difficult. Choose masks that offer three layers of protection but are still breathable and soft to prevent irritation when worn for hours.

Fluid Resistance

Masks that are fluid resistant prevent droplets and aerosols from penetrating the mask’s layers, thus, keeping you protected from diseases or prevents you from spreading harmful particles to others.

Adjustable Fit

Making sure your mask fits around your mouth and nose with no gaps ensures that you do not accidentally breathe in airborne particles. High-quality masks have adjustable nose bars and elastic ear loops that ensure a comfortable fit.

If you’re looking for high-quality medical masks to protect against bacteria and viruses, our ASTM Level 2 Face Mask and Disposable Face Mask are medical-grade and high-quality masks that offer all the benefits mentioned above.

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How do face masks protect you from COVID-19?

As the COVID-19/Coronavirus pandemic continues to spread throughout the world, a confusing topic continues to be the wearing of face masks. At the start of the pandemic, Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, recommended that people who were not sick should not be wearing a mask. Now, however, Tam and Canada’s public health officials recommend non-medical face masks be worn in public when social distancing isn’t possible, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said he will do just that. What’s changed? Is a mask really necessary?

Face Masks Protect Others From Coronavirus

A May 22 paper in the Annals of Internal Medicine took a close look at the effectiveness of masks in preventing the spread of disease. The results offer evidence that face masks can stop respiratory droplets from spreading. If someone wearing a face mask sneezes, the people around them are far better protected from potentially virus-bearing droplets than if there was no mask in place. “Every virus-laden particle retained in a mask is not available to hang in the air as an aerosol or fall to a surface to be later picked up by touch,” said researchers in the paper.

Do Face Masks Protect You from COVID-19?

Perhaps the most important thing to understand is how coronavirus, the virus that causes COVID-19, is passed from person to person. COVID-19 spreads primarily between people who are within about 6 feet (2 meters) of one another. It happens when one person produces respiratory droplets through a cough, sneeze, or talking, and another person inhales them. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the virus spreads very easily between people, much more so than influenza.

The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to disinfect surfaces, practice frequent and thorough handwashing, and maintain social distance so those respiratory droplets can’t land on another person. But when social distancing isn’t possible, a face mask is the next best thing.

Cloth face masks are not designed to prevent the virus from permeating through to the wearer, and this may be why they have been the subject of so much controversy. Medical-grade face masks designed to filter particles in the air and protect the wearer are critical supplies that remain reserved for healthcare workers and first responders. Cloth face masks do prevent the spread of the disease, however, so in the long run, yes – they protect everyone.

In the briefing in which she recommended wearing masks, Dr. Tam noted people should see masks “as a way to protect other people – when two people are both wearing masks, they are protecting the other.” As children, we are taught to cover our mouths when we sneeze or cough – it prevents the spread of germs, and it’s the polite thing to do. Wearing a mask is simply the more advanced version of this – when the germs involved are much more dangerous and potentially deadly.

As we learn more about the coronavirus and head into summer, it becomes more evident that wearing a mask as an extra layer of protection is a wise move, as well as one that demonstrates a concern for fellow citizens. Handwashing remains essential and social distancing remains ideal, but as people grow tired of isolation and need to get out, face masks are important to protect ourselves and others from the spread of COVID-19.