What's In This Article?
A couple of weeks ago, I made a trip to Lowes to buy a part for my grill. I was shocked to find so few people wearing a face mask. 100% of Lowes employees were wearing face masks, but customers… I’d say less than half were wearing them. Maybe some of these people had good reasons for not wearing a mask but I’m guessing most of them were just exhibiting some kind of “face mask rebellion” because they find wearing them inconvenient and unpleasant.
Wearing a face mask when going out in public isn’t just a good idea – it’s either highly recommended or required no matter where you live. Along with hand washing, wearing a face mask is the most basic and effective way we can help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“When you have crowds of people together and you have the lack of wearing a mask, that increases the risk of there being transmissibility. I have no doubt about that… When we see that not happening, there is a concern that that may actually propagate the further spread of infection.”Dr. Anthony Fauci on CNBC’s “Halftime Report.”
Wearing a face mask is inconvenient, and personally, I don’t like wearing them. But, I don’t have any health issues that prevent me from wearing a face mask and I understand that if we’re ever going to get back to “normal,” wearing a mask is a necessary part of the process so I’m doing it.
Face Masks Are Readily Available Now
For the first month or two of Covid-19, it was nearly impossible to find face masks. They were hoarded just like toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Now, you can find face masks everywhere – but finding the most effective ones isn’t so easy.
It’s impossible to know how much longer we’re going to be wearing face masks but it could be a very long time. So… since we have to wear face masks, we might as well wear good ones, that actually do something, right?
We’ve spent some time researching face masks for you. We’ve found some great values on high quality, affordable, and often fashionable face masks and we’ll share a bunch of those with you here. Keep in mind that we are only looking at face masks and not face coverings (face coverings would include homemade solutions like bandanas, old T-shirts, and bedding.)
Shop for all face mask options on Amazon or check out our face mask picks. Then read on to learn more about Baby Boomer vulnerabilities to COVID-19 as well as more about face masks, how they work, and why we need to be wearing them.
Here’s a group that’s “Giving Back” to our front-line heroes. For every order you place with them, they will donate 5 surgical masks to a small business in need.
Surgical Grade Reusable Mask
Here’s an effective, surgical-grade reusable mask.
Mi-Americas Mask Features:
- US made
- 3-ply Surgical grade – tested by Nelson Labs to ASTM level 1 mask standards, and used in nursing homes and other environments
- Breathable cloth fabric
- Stretchable ‘respirator’ fit – unlike a standard mask, this cloth mask stretches to provide full filtration above the nose and below the chin
- Patent Pending Elastic Tightening – this unique mask provides a more secure and comfortable fit that can be worn for hours.
100 Pack Disposable Face Masks
Here’s a low-cost, 100 piece, disposable face mask pack.
SOOQOO Face Mask Features
- Package includes 100 fashion black disposable face masks
- Made of soft and breathable 3-layer, non-woven fiber fabric
- Ergonomic design with adjustable elastic ear-loops, and a flexible nose piece that helps form a closure for better protection against exposure.
Two Vents and Replaceable Filter
If you prefer a face mask with vents and replaceable filters check out this cool one from
Besungo Face Mask Features
- Shapeable nose bridge to prevent foggy glasses!
- Replaceable filter is 5 layers of protection.
- Each filter is good for one week’s worth of use
- Two – one way valves for ease of use
- Made with earloops and a velcro fastener for a snug fit.
- 30 day return policy and 24 months of after-sales help!
Reusable Antimicrobial Finished Face Mask
These are the face masks that we are currently using.
They are made using Silvadur™ antimicrobial-finish technology and feature a soft cotton lining, binded edgings, and soft ear loops for comfort.
JAANUU Face Mask Features
- Exterior Fabric: Moisture-wicking, breathable, soft scrubs fabric treated with Silvadur™ antimicrobial technology to prevent the growth of bacteria, mold, and mildew that may cause unpleasant odors, discoloration, or deterioration of the fabric
- Interior Fabric: Lined in cotton OR mesh for comfort (fabric lining may differ based on color and date of purchase)
- Soft ear loops for easy wear (loop length: 6″)
- Each set of 5 is bagged in fabric treated with Silvadur™ antimicrobial technology
Why Are Seniors Especially Vulnerable to Covid-19?
Although people of all ages can be affected by Covid-19, seniors are particularly vulnerable for two main reasons.
- The first is that physiologically, general health declines as we age, and this often means the immune system becomes weaker and weaker. This puts seniors at a higher risk of infection. On top of that, the severity of the infection is likely to be worse than in the younger population.
- The second reason seniors are especially vulnerable to Covid-19 is the increased chance of multi-morbidity, which is the coexistence of more than two chronic diseases. Such as diabetes, lung disease, and asthma. These other diseases can affect seniors’ general health, and some specifically hinder their immune system and its ability to fight off infection.
Why Wear a Face Mask?
Wearing face masks is an excellent way to provide protection where social distancing measures cannot be observed. In addition to providing some protection, they should also be worn by people infected with the virus, as they reduce the risk of them transmitting it to someone else.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has advised the public to wear face masks in public spaces, especially in areas where it is difficult to follow social distancing measures like the supermarket or pharmacy.
Given the scale of this pandemic, experts advocate that everyone take all recommended measures to minimize the risk of transmission.
Important: While face masks can serve as an extra layer of protection against coronavirus, it must be emphasized that they are not a substitute for social distancing or good hand hygiene. Also, keep in mind that wearing a mask won’t completely protect you from contracting COVID-19, but it can reduce the chances of spreading it, even if you’re not showing symptoms.
What Does a Face Mask Do?
Face masks prevent the transmission of germs from and to your mouth and nostrils. When someone sneezes or coughs, they disperse droplets into the air. If someone has Covid-19, these droplets can infect anyone who comes into contact with these air droplets.
By wearing a face mask, you create a barrier between your airways and the outside environment. This barrier protects not only you but also others.
The extent to which face masks protect you varies depending on the type of material. However, wearing a mask – even if it is a makeshift, bandana mask – is better than not wearing one at all.
Types of Face Masks
There are three main types of face masks, and each offers differing levels of protection, and some are considerably more expensive than others.
Surgical Grade Face Masks
These are commonly used in the medical setting by doctors, nurses, and dentists when treating patients. They are part of personal protective equipment (PPE) and typically have a looser fit.
They are disposable and should not be reused. If disposable masks are reused, you run the risk of self-contamination and ultimately defeat their purpose.
They prevent the escape of droplets of bodily fluids that may be carrying germs from the wearer, and they also protect the wearer from splashes or droplets from other peoples’ sneezes or coughs. However, keep in mind that they do not protect against smaller droplets, which may carry harmful germs.
Respirators Such As the N95 and FFP2/3
These masks are designed to protect users from small air particles such as viruses and larger air particles, such as sneeze droplets. These masks have a very snug fit and have a filter made of tangled fibers that entrap pathogens.
The N95 name is derived from the fact that they can filter 95 percent of air particles. The FFP2/3 (filtering facepiece) masks filter at least 94 percent and 99 percent of air particles, respectively.
These must form a tight seal around your face to ensure no airborne viruses reach your airways. Respirators are considerably more costly and are unsurprisingly in high demand at the moment.
Experts have recommended that this mask be reserved for healthcare professionals and those who are especially high-risk, including some seniors.
Cloth Face Masks
These face masks are made from common textiles, most often cotton. This type of mask is recommended for use while in public spaces, such as public transportation or pharmacies, where it is difficult to achieve safe social distancing.
Although they do not offer the same level of protection as surgical masks or respirators, they do reduce transmission rates. They are an excellent way to protect other people from those who may be infected but are unaware because they have no symptoms.
It should be noted that certain groups should not wear a cloth mask. Including toddlers under the age of two, people with breathing difficulties, and people who cannot remove the mask themselves.
What is the Proper Way to Wear a Face Mask?
First and foremost, you must wash your hands with soap and water before handling and putting on the mask. Otherwise, you risk contaminating the mask and could expose your airways to harmful germs when you wear it.
The CDC has released guidance to inform the public on how to make effective use of face masks. They have set the following five criteria:
- The mask must fit snugly against your face. It should not be uncomfortable, but there shouldn’t be any gaps between the mask and your face. If there are gaps, then the mask’s effectiveness is reduced, and you could be at risk.
- The mask must be secured with either ties or ear loops. Once on, you should not touch the mask as you increase the risk of contamination. Having a way to secure the mask properly ensures that the snug fit is maintained throughout the time you are wearing the mask, and therefore it doesn’t require constant re-adjusting.
- The mask must be made of multiple layers of fabric. A study has found that masks that are dual-layered performed better than single-layered masks. The quality of the material also matters. The same study revealed that tightly-bound fabric with a high-thread-count (circa 600) was better than a low-thread count.
Tip: It would be best if you also looked for softer materials to be comfortable on your skin; a sturdy cotton outer layer with a silk or cotton inner layer is a good combination.
- The mask must allow easy, comfortable breathing with no restriction. If a mask hampers your breathing, air will take the path of least resistance and leave from the sides, thus compromising the mask’s protection.
You also do not want to risk exacerbating any existing breathing issues you may have. It is imperative you can breathe comfortably wearing the mask.
- The mask must be durable enough to prevent damage to the quality, integrity, or shape of the mask when being washed.
Reusable masks that are washable should be washed regularly, depending on how frequently they are used. Regular washing ensures that the mask is clean and can protect you and others from the transmission of germs.
You should also wash your hands immediately following the removal of the mask. Always follow the washing instructions provided by the manufacturer to protect the mask against unnecessary damage.
Tip: If you wear glasses, as many seniors do, you may find that they fog up when you breathe while wearing a mask. To stop this, look for a mask with a bendable upper border. This will allow you to mold the mask to your face and protect your glasses from the air you exhale.