Wearing a mask during the coronavirus pandemic is important for helping slow the spread of the virus, especially when people go out to places with large crowds. Many states have a mask mandate, requiring people to wear masks when they go in public. While there are several types of masks that people can choose from, it does not mean that each mask offers the same type of coverage. The different types of masks are the N95 respirator, surgical masks, and cloth masks. It is important for people to know what type of masks to wear and the pros and cons of each different mask type.

N95 Respirator

These types of masks are most used by healthcare workers who are in need of a higher level of protection. These kinds of masks are tighter-fitting and a higher filtration material than regular masks. This was, they can filter out an estimated 95% of airborne particles that could pose a threat to a healthcare workers health. However, these masks can make it harder to breathe and require training to properly wear. If properly decontaminated, the N95 can be re-worn multiple times, but should not be overused. The CDC does not recommend these masks for the public, as healthcare workers need these masks. Despite this, there has been a shortage of N95 respirators for healthcare workers.

Surgical Masks

These are an FDA approved mask that is made of disposable material. They can offer some additional protection if other masks do not, are medical grade certified, affordable, and disposable. These types of masks should also be mostly used for healthcare workers that need the added protection. While the N95 respirator can be used multiple times, if decontaminated properly, surgical masks should be disposed of after a single use. They also do not filter airborne particles as well as the N95.

Cloth Masks

These masks are recommended by the CDC for the public only. They keep others safe by preventing trapping particles that are being exhaled. Cloth masks can also be reusable as long as they are properly washed. In addition, they are easy to make at home. Unfortunately, cloth masks do not protect against airborne particles. This means that they keep people from getting others sick, but not the other way around. As such, people are more prone to want a surgical mask or an N95 because they better protect against airborne particles.

Wearing a mask during the pandemic has become a regular thing. Many states in the U.S. have a mask mandate to help keep the spread of the Coronavirus down. It is important to know what masks to wear and what downsides each mask has. While the N95 offers the most protection against the virus, it is only recommended for healthcare workers and is in low supply. Surgical masks and cloth masks do not offer as much protection as the N95, but are in greater supply for the public.