Take a walk outside and you’re bound to see people wearing various types of face masks. Face mask such as cloth mask, 3 ply mask, N95 mask and respirator mask which comes in various colours and designs. So which is better suited for you and your children?
Surgical Mask (3 ply mask)
For the general public, wearing a SURGICAL MASK (3 ply mask) is good enough to reduce the spread of the virus via droplets or saliva. It is also easy to wear, more comfortable and very effective. In the long run, it is more economical as surgical mask needs to be replaced whenever it is soiled. However, there is shortage of surgical masks worldwide during the Covid19 pandemic.
The N95 mask which has a tighter fitting is not recommended as it is designed in a way that would make it difficult for people to breathe in if worn properly. Yes, if you find it easy to breathe through your N95 mask then there is probably a leak or it is not applied properly.
So why do health care workers wear N95 mask instead?
In healthcare settings, healthcare workers are required to wear personal protection equipment (PPE) which include N95 masks and goggles, while attending to infected patients because of extreme close contact and invasive procedures done for example taking respiratory secretion samples.
What about cloth masks? Cloth masks are generally not effective due to poor filtration and moisture retention resulting in the increase risk of infection.
Bear in mind that choosing the right mask does not provide protection if it is worn wrongly! Refer to the infograph below on how to wear a mask correctly.?
How to Wear Mask Correctly?
➡️ Make sure you have the correct size. Make sure the mask securely covers the nose and chin without open side gaps that could allow non-filtered air to enter.
➡️ Pull the headbands over the head with both hands. Do not dangle either of the bands. Both bands must be placed behind the head to ensure proper fit and to make sure air is filtered correctly. You may place the bands together in a cloth band cover, then place over the head if this is more comfortable.
➡️ Using both hands, squeeze the nosepiece to fit around the bridge of the nose. Adjust until you have a secure fit.
Refer to the photograph below on how to wear a face mask.
Dr. JoAnn Rajah is a child specialist that provides pediatric care to baby and children in Selangor and KL. Her core strength lies in diagnosing early signs of child health issues and guiding parents on how to manage them.