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Looking for a new face mask to add to your wardrobe during COVID-19? According to a recent study by Duke University, not all face masks are created equal, so buyer beware. In fact, some offer little to no protection and should be avoided.
Researchers at the University tested the effectiveness of 14 readily available masks from N95 versions to simple bandana styles. Topping the list for providing the wearer with the least protection are the gaiter style fleece versions that cover the neck. Duke University’s research has determined these styles actually disperse more spray into the air since the material broke down larger respiratory droplets into smaller particles, the latter remaining airborne longer than larger ones.
The study results also determined surgical masks and N95 respirators without valves offered the wearer the best at blocking respiratory droplets from entering the air when an individual speaks, while a range of readily available double-layer polypropylene and cotton styles were also effective in reducing a significant amount of spray generated by normal speech.
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Now that you’ve honed in on the best mask options, Duke University offers some tips on how to properly wear a mask. Wear a mask secure over the mouth and nose, then secure behind the ears. When storing, place the mask on a clean paper towel with the exterior of the mask facing down. Then, store in a clean paper bag.
The research also advises not to wear the mask under the mouth, even to drink. Do not place a mask on your elbow or hanging from the ear in between wearing. Lastly, remember to always use proper hand hygiene before putting on and taking off your mask.
Here, FN has rounded up a range of functional, affordable masks to shop now.
Eastalon 3-Piece Pure Cotton Reusable Face Mask
These two-layer all-cotton masks feature stretchable earloops for a customized fit without causing added pressure to the ears. The versatile color assortment makes them suitable for office situations.
That Healthy Skin Glow Reusable Face Masks
This floral print cotton mask comes complete with a set of four filters made from activated carbon and non-woven cloth that are easily inserted into the mask for enhanced protection. It is recommended filters are changed after wearing the mask twice, but depends on the breathing rate of the wearer.
Bio-th Disposable Face Masks
These disposable masks come in packs of 50 and offer three layers of protection by blocking particulate matter, dust and other inhalable fine particles, while still allowing for easy breathing.
Medi+Sons Supply Reusable Decorative Masks
This pack of three floral print masks are made of cotton, then lined with another layer of cotton for added protection. They expand for a snug, customized fit.
My Funkins Reusable Cloth Mask
Washable soft cotton mask in this novelty pattern is designed for kids over 12 and adults. The pleated design features adjustable cotton earloops for a secure fit, as well as a nose wire that gently hugs the face.
Revman Adjustable Poly-Blend Face Cover
Made of a blend of polyester and cotton, this mask can be easily washed in between wearings and is quick drying due to the high polyester content.
Lucifer 3-Ply Face Mask 50-Piece Pack
Three layers of non-woven filtration material make this mask easy to breath through, while precision-folded layers conform to any face type for a customized fit.
Burlway 2-Pack Kids Reusable Cotton Mask
Two layers of cotton provide enhanced protection, while a pocket is incorporated allowing separate filters to be added. There’s also a form-fitting metal nose piece. Recommended for kids ages 3 to 10.
Kenneth Cole 3-Pack Black Face Masks
Made of lightweight cotton for added comfort, these multi-layer masks are designed with an adjustable nose clip for a more secure fit and minimal eyewear fogging.
UNKN 5-Pack Face Scarf With Carbon Filters
Soft and comfortable, these cotton masks come with 10 disposable carbon filters that fit into a pocket in the mask. Masks are washable, while the filters need to be disposed of after several or more uses, depending on length of each wear.
Oaxygen KIds Face Mask With Filters
This cotton mask comes complete with two replacement filters and air valve for enhanced breathability. Adjustable earloops conform to a range of children’s face sizes.