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In light of the medical profession’s shortage of face masks, it’s imperative that the general public refrains from buying the medical-grade face masks that health care workers so badly need. The next best option is making your own: DIY tutorials abound for no-sew and sewn face masks.
But for those who want to purchase masks, more and more brands have been producing them for mass consumption. We’ve featured some of the best below.
What to look for when buying a face mask
A new study has shown that some of the most effective materials for face masks ― when factoring in filtration and breathability ― are cotton, denim and canvas. All of the masks below are made of these materials. The study also shows that multiple layers of material are more effective at blocking coronavirus particles than just one single layer, and all of the masks below are made of at least two layers.
Here’s a very detailed guide to wearing a face mask correctly, but here are some key fundamentals:
One of the most important requirements of an effective face mask is that it covers your mouth and nose and fits snugly along all sides of your face ― you don’t want any gaps that’ll allow extra air or virus particles to flow in. Whether you choose a mask with a tie or elastic ear loops is up to you, but make sure the mask will adjust well to help the mask fit your face.
And if you wear glasses, you’ll especially want a snug fit along the top of your nose to prevent your lenses from fogging up. Look for masks made with metal pieces at the nose bridge, which can bend to your contours.
The masks featured below are all machine washable, and ideally you should wash and dry your mask after each time you use it in public.
Keep in mind that wearing a nonsurgical face mask cannot completely prevent you from contracting COVID-19 ― if anything, wearing a mask does more to prevent you from spreading the disease than it does to keep you from catching it.
The masks below were in stock at the time this story was first published, but keep in mind that demand is high. Many brands shift to preordering when they become low on stock, or have longer delay times after you place an order.
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Experts are still learning about the novel coronavirus. The information in this story is what was known or available as of press time, but it’s possible guidance around COVID-19 could change as scientists discover more about the virus. Please check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the most updated recommendations.