A cloth face mask, also known as a nasal mask, is a thin mask usually made of porous common cloth, most commonly cotton, worn on the nose and mouth. Nasal breathing is very important because it helps to prevent the spread of contagious diseases by exposing the individual to a small amount of infectious matter in the air. While facial masks that cover the entire head are available in most pharmacies, facial masks that only cover the nose are much easier to use, since they can be quickly and easily put on and taken off. However, when physical distancing is not possible, and if nasal breathing is impossible, then a cloth face mask still has several benefits which make them superior to plastic masks.
The first obvious advantage of any type of face mask, whether disposable or otherwise, is that it is lightweight. All but the most air tight masks must be worn for an entire 24 hours, and using a lightweight alternative will ensure that breathing remains comfortable throughout the day. By allowing extra air to travel through the mask at all times, lightweight face masks reduce the amount of moisture that remains in the inside of the mask and allows for improved facial filtration. When facial moisture stays in the mask, it will create a film which is sticky, reduces air circulation, causes chapping, and even causes acne and breakouts to become worse.
Using cloth face masks also reduces overall social distancing. When facial masks are used, the individual wearing them will always be aware of how others are feeling, which allows for greater social distancing. When individuals are constantly feeling self conscious about their appearance, it can have a dramatic effect on their overall mental and emotional health. In addition to having the potential psychological impact on the wearer, heavy facial sweating also poses a safety issue for those who are constantly sweating and using a cloth face mask keeps it from becoming obvious where sweat is present.
In addition to providing increased comfort and better facial filtration, breathability is also improved when a cloth face mask is used. When a fabric mask has more than one layer of fabric, there is more breathability available. A higher number of layers will allow for more oxygen to flow through the fabric to the face mask. With a higher number of layers, a larger percentage of the virus droplets are left behind.
The addition of a face mask that has a dual protection feature is especially important for individuals who constantly work in areas with high levels of pollution. Many people don’t realize that even a paper or plastic mask can provide protection against airborne viruses. However, a large number of these viruses are emitted from industrial related activities. When the addition of high quality, industrial strength N95 respirators is made, the possibility of getting sick from these pollutants is diminished.
Two very important factors to consider when purchasing face masks include size and cost. Masks with larger sizes allow for more breathing room for the individual. Masks that offer a lower cost are less expensive, which allows them to be purchased by numerous people.