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With the rising cases of Covid-19, one needs to be more careful when choosing a mask to reduce exposure to the deadly virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that people put on masks in public settings. But with many types of masks available on the market, making the right choice can be quite challenging.

Mask guidance is changing. Here's how to choose the right mask to protect yourself and others. #pasadenahealthcenter #mask #wearamask Click To Tweet

Millions of people put on nonmedical masks or face coverings while out in public. States like New York have even made face coverings mandatory in places where social distancing is not possible. But before you buy or make any mask at home, you should consider the type of mask. Thicker, denser fabrics tend to be more effective than the thinner, loosely woven ones.

Experts are calling for better masks

“We’ve been saying wear a mask, wear a mask. Well, we’re now 10 months into this, and we are still just telling people to wear masks that are OK, but they’re not the best protection that we can get. We already know that N95-level protection is out there and it is the best,” Abraar Karan, MD, says. It’s important now to double up on mask materials and make sure each make has at least three layers of protective fabric. Multiple layers are able to stop respiratory droplets from passing through. Surgical masks and medical masks come in three and four-ply options.

New virus variants could lead to rising in COVID cases

“The increased transmissibility of the B.1.1.7 variant warrants universal and increased compliance with mitigation strategies, including distancing and masking. Higher vaccination coverage might need to be achieved to protect the public. Genomic sequence analysis through the National SARS-CoV-2 Strain Surveillance program will enable a targeted approach to identifying variants of concern in the United States.” We are now facing a new strain of the virus and are being asked to take extra precautions. Face masks should always cover your nose and mouth. They should fit comfortably on your ears and face–not too tight or too loose. 

N95 and KN95 respirators are the best options available

“Abraar Karan, MD, has been treating COVID-19 patients for 10 months. In that time, he hasn’t gotten the virus, and he credits his N95 mask for protecting him.” These masks should be readily available to the public, and Karan has called “for a national initiative to make masks with higher filtration easier to get — even having the government send them to people’s homes.”

The FDA defines N95 respirators as a “protective device designed to achieve a very close facial fit and very efficient filtration of airborne particles.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), doesn’t recommend the general public wear them in order to reserve supplies for health care workers and medical first responders. However, they are available and should be considered. 

We recommend against using cloth masks and gaiters as they’re not nearly as effective in stopping infectious diseases. Also, try to avoid public spaces that require masks upon entering only for guests to remove them once seated. 


When it comes to choosing a mask, know that the N95 is the best option available. At Pasadena Health Center, we use these masks to protect our providers and patients. 

Connect with us to learn more about how your mask works.