Wednesday, December 30, 2020

COVID Protection: Goggles and Face Masks - Which Materials Are Best

As the year comes to an end, wearing a face mask is more important than ever. I wear one 100% of the time when I’m outside and most certainly when I’m forced to go indoors to buy groceries or go to the pharmacy. I’ve noticed many people who do wear a face covering but they either don’t wear it properly — not placing it over their nose and mouth — or they wear a neck gaiter/buff which is not considered adequate in terms of significantly reducing the transmission of aerosolized droplets from being expelled when breathing, speaking, sneezing or coughing. Not only is it important to wear a face mask properly and to wear an actual mask, but the material that it’s made of is equally important. I’ve included links at the bottom of this post on face masks and the materials that seem to be the most efficient at reducing droplets transmission. Not everyone has access to N95 masks. Many epidemiologists, public health physicians and pulmonologists recommend what’s being referred to as hybrid masks, aka a mask made of multiple different fabrics rather than a single one. So I wear a double layer cloth mask and between the outer and inner cotton layers I place a polypropylene rectangle in the filter pocket. (It can be washed in warm water with detergent.) This makes for a three layer cotton-polypropylene-cotton mask. I got the breathable poly — it’s non-woven, spun-bond polypro — by cutting up a reusable tote/conference/grocery bag. 

(You’ll recognize it by looking closely at the fabric where there are lots of little dimples.) 

Also, because rates are climbing all over the country, when I’m indoors (to shop) I wear a 3-ply surgical mask on top of this, which makes for 6 layers! And it’s plenty breathable.

Not only do I wear a mask (masks), but when indoors I always wear goggles atop my glasses.

I know I must look like a freak, but I don’t care. And this is how I’ll be dressing until I get vaccinated. After the vaccine, I may not wear the goggles, but I still will wear my cloth mask and still social distance and wash my hands regularly. 

For more information on masks and mask materials, check out these sources:

Source 1

Source 2

Source 3

Source 4