Should a mask be worn to prevent illness?

In the wake of recent global health news, you may be wondering how you can protect yourself from viral illnesses, and if you can and/or should do so by using a mask.  

Our filters block 99.9% of particulates down to .1 micron – a rate that is known to be effective toward most airborne pathogens like influenza and SARS, especially in the form of large droplets.*

Some reports mention that disposable/surgical (paper, cloth, etc.) masks do not provide adequate levels of protection from getting sick. These masks not only provide little in the way of filtration capability in blocking out particulate matter but are often loose-fitting; a tight seal around the mouth/face is necessary to provide an adequate level of protection for your lungs. Additionally, disposable masks are not intended to be washed and/or reused.


On the contrary, surgical-type masks are suggested to be used by those who are already experiencing symptoms or have a diagnosed illness to reduce the chances of infecting others. The CDC recommends that if you suspect you or a member of your household has been exposed to COVID-19, a face mask should be worn.  


Healthline sources a University of Michigan study of the spread of influenza in 1,000 students living in residence halls: “The results showed that those who wore masks in residence halls and practiced good handwashing reduced their risk of flu-like illness by an astonishing 75 percent.”


Masks of any type, therefore, should NOT be used as a replacement of proper hygiene to ward off illness. As mentioned above, though, they can be used in assisting prevention – just keep in mind that the CDC also recommends washing your hands regularly and observing good hygiene practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19.


According to a report from the BBC News: “’Research also shows that compliance with these recommended behaviours reduces over time when wearing facemasks for prolonged periods.’”  In other words, consistency is key and practicing regular hygiene is essential in the prevention of disease.


As always, if you have additional questions about your personal health or are concerned that you may be experiencing symptoms of coronavirus, influenza or another viral illness, contact your doctor or other experienced health professional.


*Although we typically recommend changing filters after 40 to 60 hours of use, this will depend on your environment. If you are using our masks against airborne pathogens, the mask must be washed with a sterilizing soap and filter replaced after each wear for maximum efficiency in preventing exposure and spread. 

Please be aware that our M1, M2, and M2.5 masks only filter the air being breathed in and not the air being breathed out. Because of this, they will only provide filtration for those wearing the mask. If you believe you have been infected, our masks will not protect those around you from the spread of infection. There are multiple ways the COVID-19 virus can be contracted, and we recommend following all prevention measures provided by the CDC and WHO. 


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