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Face masks may be an easy and effective way to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. New coronavirus spreads via respiratory droplets. The CDC recommends that everyone should wear a face mask in places where it can be hard to stay 6 feet away from others: grocery stores, pharmacies, hospitals etc. So, which type of face mask works best for avoiding transmission of the new coronavirus in public?

Research suggests that masks help limit the transmission of the virus by people who don’t realize that they have it. Studies show that people can spread coronavirus even if they don’t have symptoms. So, we recommend wearing face mask in public.

There are three main types of face masks:

•        surgical mask

•        respirators, such as N95, FFP2

•        cloth face coverings

Surgical mask

There are different types of surgical masks. A surgical face mask generally fits loosely over the nose and mouth. They are composed of breathable synthetic fabric. These masks shield against large cough or sneeze droplets, but they cannot protect against smaller droplets. You’ll also see this type of mask worn in hospitals by doctors.

 Surgical masks are made in different thicknesses and with different ability to protect you from contact with liquids. These properties may also affect how easily you can breathe and how well this mask protects you.


Seal-tested respirator masks include the N95 and other FFP2/3 forms. Respirators are made of tangled fibers that are highly effective at filtering pathogens in the air and they fit very close to the face. N95 respirator masks fit tightly around your face. They filter out 95% of the smallest particles in the air. 

Cloth face coverings

They are less effective at protecting the wearer because most have gaps near the nose, cheeks, and jaw. A cloth face mask won't totally block the coronavirus. But it’s an added layer of protection for you and the people around you. People can make these masks using a variety of fabrics. A tightly woven cotton fabric is most suitable.

Safety tips:

  • ensure that the face covering does not cause difficulty breathing

  • put on and take off the mask by holding it by the ear loops or ties, not by touching the front of the mask.

  • check that the face mask covers both the nose and mouth

  • make sure that a person can tighten or secure the covering to prevent it from slipping

  • Avoid touching the mask while it’s on your face.

  • Run your cloth mask through the washer and dryer after each use. 

The effectiveness of different face masks can vary. If a person is likely to be in proximity to others for an extended period, a face mask is highly recommended. Although homemade cloth masks aren’t as effective at filtering out small particles as respirators or surgical masks, they offer more protection than not wearing any face mask at all.