Health experts weigh in on best face masks to wear

Coronavirus

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) — There are three types of masks that are most common according to health experts: homemade cloth masks, blue surgical masks many get from their doctor’s visits, or an N-95 industrial mask that you can get from a hardware store.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends cloth face masks to leave medical-grade masks for health care, but experts say anything is better than nothing.

A cloth face mask and blue surgical mask do the same thing according to Dr. Melissa Ellis-Yarian with Roper Saint Francis.

“The point of a surgical face mask or a cloth face mask is to contain your own respiratory droplets,” said Dr. Ellis-Yarian.

The masks do not block the tiny particles that you could inhale with the coronavirus, but they do protect those around you.

“The way universal masking works, the key to that, is the word universal. Everyone has to wear it in order for it to work because that means everyone is containing their own respiratory droplets and not infecting each other,” Dr. Ellis-Yarian commented.

A cloth face mask should have two layers according to CDC guidelines and be washed on a regular basis.

An N-95 non-medical mask is commonly used for industrial purposes and does keep you from breathing in tiny respiratory particles.

“So if you’re wearing this it’s fine, but you need to cover this little vent with either some tape or some cloth because otherwise while you’re protecting yourself from breathing in, your exhaling your respiratory droplets and that would defeat the purpose of universal masking,” Dr. Ellis-Yarian mentioned.

A mask should fit snuggling but comfortably. It should cover your nose and mouth with no gaping under the chin or on the sides.

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