Experts say that while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people wear at least two layers of cloth masks, for health care workers, it is out of an abundance of caution. Turner said, "Some of the reasons for this are the availability of paper masks for health workers and medical workers who have or have experienced periods of limited resources in many parts of the country." However, Turner added that since then, many shops have increased the availability of non-medical masks, noting that it is a good option if they are available in your area.
"Disposable blue surgical-style masks seem to do a better job of protecting the wearer and others in the vicinity," says Gregory Charlop, M.D. "Studies have shown that cloth masks have a higher rate of virus transmission compared to blue surgical masks." At the World Health Organisation, for example, medical grade medical masks are specifically recommended if you are 60 and already have a basic medical condition, are feeling ill or need to care for a sick family member. However, the experts we consulted agreed that the general public should not purchase N95 gas masks unless absolutely necessary.
This would allow the use of non-medical disposable masks (and reusable fabric masks). But which disposable masks are the best disposable masks?
Medical disposable masks are better than fabric masks at protecting others if the person wearing the mask becomes infected. "There have been many studies looking at the efficacy of disposable masks. In the case of N95 and triple surgical masks, they perform best in terms of both inhalation and exhalation of viruses.
Disposable masks help prevent cross-contamination.
Although these masks can only be worn once, the time can vary greatly between wearers. If someone wears it just for a quick grocery shopping trip, can they rewear it the next day for another short trip? Or if they wear it for seven hours in shifts, will it last forever?
Turner notes that the Infectious Diseases Society of America recommends discarding the mask if it is found to be visibly soiled. She says, "This may be a case of common sense dictating that - once a mask becomes wet or dirty, its protective qualities are diminished." "Unless it's visibly wet or dirty every day, it's probably good to use one every day."
However, after rapid use (either disposable or cloth masks), the biggest risk of putting a mask back on is the chance that it will get dirty when removed or put back on. It doesn't matter if you wear the mask for a few minutes or hours if you contaminate yourself or yourself.
"You can reuse disposable masks, but only if you do it the right way," says Charlop. "Make sure you remove it from your belt, put it in a safe place and wash your hands." Please wait a few days before using it again, or place it in a paper bag and heat it with a hairdryer to kill latent virus particles."