How to choose a face mask?

FACE masks have now become a part of our attire or a mode of prevention. Wearing protective masks is not exactly a new trend. In some parts of the world it has been a common practice for the past few decades.
It is definitely a good gesture to wear a mask whenever you feel that you could be sick and do not really have to be COVID or a simple flu.

Russian expatriate Anna N who owns and designs Masks Muscat stresses on self-care and hygiene.

Her masks are known for its reuse made from designer fabrics. They have come out with stylish and edgy designs which are quality products and unique.

She says: “We are trying to educate people on what they should do to minimise risks. You can buy the most expensive mask but if you do not wash it and put it down to free the nose then there is more bad than good in wearing it. And we really should feel responsible about this because it is already really hard on a national healthcare system.”

Masks Muscat launched nature inspired mask designs and made National Day theme masks. They have masks with floral themes in patterns with few unisex masks that are perfectly suitable for men as well.

Dr Muhammed Anas Ayoob, a specialist in pulmonary disease at NMC, says the use of cloth masks during COVID-19 pandemic is under debate. A study report from Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC-US) concludes that the filtration, effectiveness, fit, and performance of cloth masks are inferior to those of medical masks.

Dr Muhammed is of the view that cloth masks are a more suitable option for community use when medical masks are unavailable. “Protection provided by cloth masks may be improved by selecting appropriate material, increasing the number of mask layers, and using those with a design that provides filtration and fit,” he says.

For some it can get very annoying to wear the same medical mask every day for months.

Anna says that Masks Muscat follows global healthcare standards and tries to educate customers about self-care measures during COVID-19. They wanted to make something that is protective with not less than two layers of fabric, which sits comfortably on the face and at the same time pleasant to look at and fun to wear, something that rather feels like a natural part of the outfit.

If done perfectly, choosing and wearing masks could save many people.

Anna mentions about polyester masks being sold, some with colourful designs but says it really is not a good barrier.

Their masks usually have two to three layers depending on the type of fabrics they use. She suggests to avoid getting masks with a valve or vent. They may look more like a pro-medical device but release particles that you are breathing out through the vents.

“Also vents are usually right under the nose so whatever you are breathing out goes directly on the people in front of you. Ideally the mask should fit you well too. There is a chance of getting the virus through the eyes as well especially if you are indoors,” she adds.

Mask Muscat advises washing your mask but one really cannot reuse the masks if they are moist and sweaty.

“It does not matter if the mask comes with a removable filter or with a vent or not. It must be washed after every use. Wash your mask with soap or in a washing machine.”

Ammujam Raveendran took to making reusable bags under the banner Rebagoman in 2018 after her native land, Kerala, was devastated by floods.

She started making reusable and eco-friendly fabric face masks with 100 per cent cotton fabric

To reduce the use of single use surgical masks by the public, she makes fabric face masks in 2 or 3 layers which are easy and comfortable. They are reusable, eco-friendly, available in different prints, absorbs the aerosols into the fabric and allows free flow of oxygen through the mask.

She says while making a choice the basic issue about masks is the protection from coronavirus, and the ability to breathe through the mask without getting suffocated, with impact on health, nature and environment.

Ammu advises not to use a mask that can cause allergy to the skin due to the chemically processed fabric used in making.

“Breathability is a factor to be considered, wherever and whenever possible use a reusable mask made out of 100 per cent cotton fabric. Use a reusable mask whenever possible. Green recovery must become a reality and avoiding single use items is a step forward towards a sustainable environment,” she counsels.