Prepare for 2021 - Not All Masks Are Created Equal

Perhaps one of the most striking lifestyle changes resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic is the mandatory use of face masks in grocery stores, restaurants and other public places. Wearing a mask, especially when in close proximity to others, is imperative to slowing the spread of COVID-19. 

We all want to get back to our normal lives, where we can freely meet with our friends and family, congregate at our local schools and churches, and enjoy our favorite musical or show.  But one look outside of your “safe-at-home” haven and you might find people wearing masks in a variety of different styles.

With new studies and at-times confusing CDC guidelines online, it can be challenging to keep up with the most reliable information on how best to stay safe and healthy.

There is one thing that we should keep in mind - that not all face coverings are created equal.  As such, the team at On-The-Go Masks has studied and compiled recent information from medical experts and researchers to breakdown the ABCs of what exactly constitutes an effective face mask for the COVID-19 era.  We hope that you will find this information helpful:

In addition, On-The-Go Masks has partnered with GCFA to create discounts for UMC Ministries and their members.  Please visit www.otgmasks.com to learn more about our various mask products.  To receive your discount, please enter the Coupon Codes below during the checkout process:

For UMC Ministries:  22% discount – Use code “UMC22”

For UMC Members:  15% discount – Use code “UMC15”

 

What makes a face mask more effective?

There are two primary factors to keep in mind when shopping:  First, the mask has to be fitted around the face, chin, and nose with minimal gaps.  Second, it needs to be multi-layered. It shouldn’t just be one single layer of cloth — unless that layer is dramatically thick, which is usually not the case.  A good rule of thumb is that if you can see through the material when you stretch it out, it may not be your best pick.  If you focus on these two things, you’re going to be keeping a lot more people safe.

 

What face masks are most effective?

N95/KN95

Many months later, there continues to be a shortage of N95 masks among essential healthcare workers.  However, for non-medical purposes, the similarly designed (and widely available) KN95 masks are among the safest ones you can order.  Data from the CDC has shown that they are very similar to N95 masks in terms of protection as they provide filtration of >95% of micron sized particles that enter and exit the mask.  These masks protect BOTH the wearer and those around from particles and bacteria.  OTG Masks provides a few different options for KN95 masks that have been Authorized by the FDA and CDC for use in both Healthcare and Civilian settings.

Surgical/3-Ply Disposable Masks

3-ply masks are very much like those you have seen when visiting the doctor.  They are disposable in nature and can be highly effective in protecting yourself when you’re out and about.  Most masks of this type are typically three layers.  The middle layer is made of polypropylene which is effective in minimizing droplet spread.  Unlike a N95/KN95, these masks do not fit your face as snugly, so it’s important to make sure there are not openings around the sides of your face where particles can enter.

Cloth Masks

As you probably know, having multiple layers is key to ensuring that droplets don’t get in (or out) of your mask. For that reason, multi-layer (at least three, according to experts), reusable cloth masks are good to keep in rotation. Ones to avoid?  Anything with a valve, which. allows open air to pass through without a barrier.

However, in addition to layers, please remember that fit is everything.  Masks only work if they’re being worn properly and fitted properly.  A better fit ensures that you’ll not only be comfortable, but you won’t have any gaping issues, either. (Lastly, don’t forget to ensure that it’s covering your nose and mouth — it’s not a chin cover.)

Bandana

With Bandanas, most people aren’t wearing it properly, according to medical experts. However, because they are conventionally made of thicker fabric, they are better than going sans mask. It is important not to wear the bandana tied over the bridge of the nose, with the rest of it hanging loose.  Instead, make sure that it is fitted under the chin, as well as over the nose, so that you’re not leaving a significant void and gap and opportunity to spread droplets. mask.)

 

What face masks should I avoid?

Neck Gaiters

They may have become hugely popular within the running community, but neck gaiters may be actually doing more harm than good, according to a recent study.  Neck gaiters have been shown to increase potentially the hazard and exposure because of the particle size that they produce.  They can actually make the droplets smaller and can potentially aerosolize more readily, and should be avoided.

Clear Plastic Face Shields

Clear plastic face shields by themselves are not effective as particles can enter from the sides and bottom.  They are only appropriate when used in conjunction with a face mask or face covering.

 

What else do I need to know?

While masks are vital to stopping the spread of the virus, it’s also important to remember that face masks don’t replace additional precautions but enhance them.

Remember to also continue:

  • Clean your hands often, either with soap and water for 20 seconds or a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

  • Put distance between yourself and other people (at least 6 feet).

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces daily.

We hope you find this information helpful.  As you prepare for 2021 and in-person worship and other activities, it is important that you wear a proper mask to protect yourself and others around you.  On-The-Go Masks is a GFCA partner and will be glad to answer any questions you may have.  Please feel free to reach out to us at support@otgmasks.com.

If you are interested in purchasing any of our products, please visit us at www.otgmasks.com and use the appropriate discount code below:

For UMC Ministries:  22% discount – Use code “UMC22”

For UMC Members:  15% discount – Use code “UMC15”

Please Stay Covered and Stay Safe.

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