What type of mask should I be wearing in public amid coronavirus?

News Apr 17, 2020 by Veronica Appia Toronto.com

Now that health agencies in Canada and the U.S. are promoting the use of non-medical masks worn by the general public amid COVID-19, you may be wondering what your options are and what types of masks are safest.

Dr. Jessica Hopkins, medical director of health protection at Public Health Ontario, said it is important to note that, based on their research, masks worn by asymptomatic individuals while out in non-healthcare settings do not prevent those individuals from catching viral respiratory infections, such as COVID-19.

“When you are wearing a mask, it’s about protecting others,” she said.

As well, she added, if a person is not wearing their mask properly, not discarding it properly or not following the rules for proper hand hygiene, there is a greater possibility of them self-contaminating if they do come into contact with a virus.

Hopkins recommends that prior to deciding to wear any of the following masks in public, individuals should be aware of the risks associated with different types and the proper ways to put on and take off the masks safely.

surgical masksAlexandra Heck/Torstar

SURGICAL MASKS

Surgical masks are among the safest options when it comes to choices in masks, Hopkins said, as they are created in a way to keep virus particles from penetrating through the material.

“When surgical masks or N95 masks are made, there’s a manufacturing process and a certification process that goes along with that to make sure that they are going to be safe for health-care providers’ use, so types of approval and testing goes into that happening,” she said.

These types of masks, like any mask a person chooses to wear, should be covering the mouth and nose and worn with as little space as possible between the mask and the face. There should still be some room inside the mask, however, Hopkins added. Your mouth should not be pressing up against the inside of the mask.

dust masksPexels photo

DUST MASKS

Dust masks, often purchased from a local hardware store, have also become a popular option among people donning masks in public.

Despite having a tighter fit around the face than the majority of homemade cloth face masks, Hopkins said there are no studies thus far that indicate it is a superior option compared to a homemade cloth mask.

homemade masks Michael Garron Hospital photo

HOMEMADE MASKS

With surgical masks being difficult to obtain due to high demand, many people have turned to making their own masks at home. These range in style and material.

People have been opting for masks that require sewing; masks with an insert for a filter; no-sew masks made out of socks; or using neck gaiters, scarves or bandanas to cover their mouth and nose. 

Hopkins said she is not able to make any recommendations with regards to what materials may work better when making a mask at home.

She said it is difficult to know how effective these types of masks are in keeping out a virus, because they don’t undergo the same rigorous testing as surgical masks or N95 masks that are created for health-care workers.

“If someone is making a mask out of T-shirt material, the holes you get from the weave are going to be larger than what you have in a surgical mask, so they may not be tight enough to keep the virus particles from getting through the mask,” she said.

“Additionally, depending on the type of material you are using, it may not be resistant to fluids or water so the humidity from your breath, or if they are exposed to droplets, they may pass through the masks made of cloth, in ways they would not with a surgical mask.”

Hopkins added that what they know for certain is that physical distancing, proper hand hygiene and staying home when you feel ill are the best options people have to protect themselves and others during this time.

What type of mask should I be wearing in public amid coronavirus?

Public Health Ontario medical director weighs in on best options

News Apr 17, 2020 by Veronica Appia Toronto.com

Now that health agencies in Canada and the U.S. are promoting the use of non-medical masks worn by the general public amid COVID-19, you may be wondering what your options are and what types of masks are safest.

Dr. Jessica Hopkins, medical director of health protection at Public Health Ontario, said it is important to note that, based on their research, masks worn by asymptomatic individuals while out in non-healthcare settings do not prevent those individuals from catching viral respiratory infections, such as COVID-19.

“When you are wearing a mask, it’s about protecting others,” she said.

As well, she added, if a person is not wearing their mask properly, not discarding it properly or not following the rules for proper hand hygiene, there is a greater possibility of them self-contaminating if they do come into contact with a virus.

Related Content

Hopkins recommends that prior to deciding to wear any of the following masks in public, individuals should be aware of the risks associated with different types and the proper ways to put on and take off the masks safely.

surgical masksAlexandra Heck/Torstar

SURGICAL MASKS

Surgical masks are among the safest options when it comes to choices in masks, Hopkins said, as they are created in a way to keep virus particles from penetrating through the material.

“When surgical masks or N95 masks are made, there’s a manufacturing process and a certification process that goes along with that to make sure that they are going to be safe for health-care providers’ use, so types of approval and testing goes into that happening,” she said.

These types of masks, like any mask a person chooses to wear, should be covering the mouth and nose and worn with as little space as possible between the mask and the face. There should still be some room inside the mask, however, Hopkins added. Your mouth should not be pressing up against the inside of the mask.

dust masksPexels photo

DUST MASKS

Dust masks, often purchased from a local hardware store, have also become a popular option among people donning masks in public.

Despite having a tighter fit around the face than the majority of homemade cloth face masks, Hopkins said there are no studies thus far that indicate it is a superior option compared to a homemade cloth mask.

homemade masks Michael Garron Hospital photo

HOMEMADE MASKS

With surgical masks being difficult to obtain due to high demand, many people have turned to making their own masks at home. These range in style and material.

People have been opting for masks that require sewing; masks with an insert for a filter; no-sew masks made out of socks; or using neck gaiters, scarves or bandanas to cover their mouth and nose. 

Hopkins said she is not able to make any recommendations with regards to what materials may work better when making a mask at home.

She said it is difficult to know how effective these types of masks are in keeping out a virus, because they don’t undergo the same rigorous testing as surgical masks or N95 masks that are created for health-care workers.

“If someone is making a mask out of T-shirt material, the holes you get from the weave are going to be larger than what you have in a surgical mask, so they may not be tight enough to keep the virus particles from getting through the mask,” she said.

“Additionally, depending on the type of material you are using, it may not be resistant to fluids or water so the humidity from your breath, or if they are exposed to droplets, they may pass through the masks made of cloth, in ways they would not with a surgical mask.”

Hopkins added that what they know for certain is that physical distancing, proper hand hygiene and staying home when you feel ill are the best options people have to protect themselves and others during this time.

What type of mask should I be wearing in public amid coronavirus?

Public Health Ontario medical director weighs in on best options

News Apr 17, 2020 by Veronica Appia Toronto.com

Now that health agencies in Canada and the U.S. are promoting the use of non-medical masks worn by the general public amid COVID-19, you may be wondering what your options are and what types of masks are safest.

Dr. Jessica Hopkins, medical director of health protection at Public Health Ontario, said it is important to note that, based on their research, masks worn by asymptomatic individuals while out in non-healthcare settings do not prevent those individuals from catching viral respiratory infections, such as COVID-19.

“When you are wearing a mask, it’s about protecting others,” she said.

As well, she added, if a person is not wearing their mask properly, not discarding it properly or not following the rules for proper hand hygiene, there is a greater possibility of them self-contaminating if they do come into contact with a virus.

Related Content

Hopkins recommends that prior to deciding to wear any of the following masks in public, individuals should be aware of the risks associated with different types and the proper ways to put on and take off the masks safely.

surgical masksAlexandra Heck/Torstar

SURGICAL MASKS

Surgical masks are among the safest options when it comes to choices in masks, Hopkins said, as they are created in a way to keep virus particles from penetrating through the material.

“When surgical masks or N95 masks are made, there’s a manufacturing process and a certification process that goes along with that to make sure that they are going to be safe for health-care providers’ use, so types of approval and testing goes into that happening,” she said.

These types of masks, like any mask a person chooses to wear, should be covering the mouth and nose and worn with as little space as possible between the mask and the face. There should still be some room inside the mask, however, Hopkins added. Your mouth should not be pressing up against the inside of the mask.

dust masksPexels photo

DUST MASKS

Dust masks, often purchased from a local hardware store, have also become a popular option among people donning masks in public.

Despite having a tighter fit around the face than the majority of homemade cloth face masks, Hopkins said there are no studies thus far that indicate it is a superior option compared to a homemade cloth mask.

homemade masks Michael Garron Hospital photo

HOMEMADE MASKS

With surgical masks being difficult to obtain due to high demand, many people have turned to making their own masks at home. These range in style and material.

People have been opting for masks that require sewing; masks with an insert for a filter; no-sew masks made out of socks; or using neck gaiters, scarves or bandanas to cover their mouth and nose. 

Hopkins said she is not able to make any recommendations with regards to what materials may work better when making a mask at home.

She said it is difficult to know how effective these types of masks are in keeping out a virus, because they don’t undergo the same rigorous testing as surgical masks or N95 masks that are created for health-care workers.

“If someone is making a mask out of T-shirt material, the holes you get from the weave are going to be larger than what you have in a surgical mask, so they may not be tight enough to keep the virus particles from getting through the mask,” she said.

“Additionally, depending on the type of material you are using, it may not be resistant to fluids or water so the humidity from your breath, or if they are exposed to droplets, they may pass through the masks made of cloth, in ways they would not with a surgical mask.”

Hopkins added that what they know for certain is that physical distancing, proper hand hygiene and staying home when you feel ill are the best options people have to protect themselves and others during this time.