Masks & Face Coverings: What You Need to Know

Shelly Haberman
Mask

COVID-19 is primarily spread through respiratory droplets, which come out of your mouth and nose when you breathe, talk, sneeze, sing and so on. The main goal of wearing a mask is to prevent those droplets from getting into your mouth and nose.

Deciding which type of mask is most appropriate? Here is what’s available, along with pros and cons.

When at an Agnesian HealthCare facility, patients and visitors must wear cloth or disposable masks.

Bandanas and Neck Gaiters

Improve breathability but may decrease ability to contain droplets. Layering the fabric can help. Neck gaiters are made of stretchy synthetic fabric making them comfortable to wear. These face coverings are helpful for people with breathing concerns.

Cloth Masks

Cotton fabric masks look like a surgical mask. They function like a surgical mask, so long as the fabric weave is thick enough to prevent droplet penetration.

Disposable Masks

Blue disposable masks are fluid resistant and provide some protection against larger respiratory droplets from coughs and sneezes. They prevent the wearer from spreading infectious droplets to others.

Face Shields

These are not recommended by the CDC. Droplets can be dispersed through the sides and bottom of the shield.

Valve Masks

These masks have small plastic valves embedded in the front. While they may stop particles from reaching the wearer, they do little to block what comes out of a wearer’s nose or mouth.

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