As 2020 has thus far proven to be one wild ride of a year, it’s safe to say that no one could have imagined that the trending accessory that everyone would be wearing this year is a mask. Furthermore, the debate around the hallowed mask has been a controversial topic for many. While wearing a mask is a step in the right direction, a simple mask is just scratching the surface when it comes to reducing the spread of the coronavirus.
And though many states are continuing to ease their coronavirus restrictions, the mask discussion remains a salient topic of discussion, so much so that it has become political. These days, your stance on wearing a mask is typically associated with a political party. With opinions, politics and, wives tales swirling around the topic, it’s hard to know what to believe. Many often wonder, what is the effectiveness of wearing a mask? What’s the difference between a mask and a respirator? Is wearing a facial covering really that important?
While many claim to know the answers to these questions, opinions and politics aside, when it comes to the debate around masks, facial coverings, and respirators, science is science. Though two people wearing a simple mask does in fact reduce the spread of the coronavirus, a respirator is far more effective, providing cleaner and healthier air for the person wearing it.
We’ve compiled a list of common misconceptions about masks and respirators.
1. A mask and a respirator offer the same protection.
Not at all! While masks are more like barriers to protect from splashes, droplets and fluids in the air, respirators protect from airborne particles and biological aerosols including viruses and bacteria. Respirators are also designed to seal to the wearer’s face, whereas masks are more loosely worn. Masks are designed to protect others and respirators are designed to protect the people wearing them. Take the situation on the American west coast. With over millions of acres burning as a result of wildfires, the air quality has been steadily poor over the past few weeks. In these circumstances, a mask provides very little protection since they were never designed to filter the air. Whereas, a respirator would absolutely reduce the amount of smoke the wearer inhales.
2. Wearing a mask will increase the amount of carbon dioxide you breathe and can harm your health.
False! While we can all agree that wearing a mask isn’t fun and can be uncomfortable and even difficult, the notion that a person wearing a mask for a prolonged amount of time can cause carbon dioxide toxicity is false. Though wearing a mask is new to a lot of people, think of healthcare workers that have been used to wearing a mask at work for years!
3. A mask or respirator can be substituted for a face shield.
For those looking for a workaround to avoid wearing a mask, the face shield is often considered. While they do offer protection, as by their evidently open design, face shields do not offer the same kind of protection from splashes, droplets, or airborne bacteria that a mask and/or respirator would.
4. Coffee filters work just as well as the filter designed for a respirator.
While they’re great for filtering your favorite blend of coffee and despite them being somewhat effective in filtering particles from reaching your mouth, if worn as a mask, coffee filters are difficult to breathe through. If you’re keen on a mask with a filter, your best bet is a respirator!
5. A respirator protects others, not yourself.
False again! Respirators are extremely effective in protecting both the wearer and others around. While no mask can 100% protect you from the coronavirus, a respirator substantially reduces the risk of contracting the virus. Respirators first protect the wearer from breathing in certain particles in the air, but they additionally prevent the wearer from spreading any bacteria in their own bodies to others around them.
While there is still so much to learn about this virus and how to manage it, O2 Industries has been producing affective and technologically advanced respirators since 2014. To learn more about O2 Industries and how to purchase your own respirator, check out their website.
Presented by T1