A face mask is typically a thin cloth mask worn around the nose and mouth, designed to cover the entire face and nasal passages. While most face masks are non-permanent, a few come with a built-in five-year guarantee. Non-permanent masks can be removed and exchanged after five years, while permanent masks cannot. If physical distancing isn’t possible, and if less effective facial masks aren’t readily available, cloth face masks may be your best option.
Face masks use special fabric or plastic facings that fit over the nose and mouth, trapping all allergens, irritants, vapors, and vapors inside and sealing them inside. The fabric used for face masks often comes from fibers woven into a tightly patterned fabric, which is then sewn together. Most masks have three to four tiny mesh openings located along the top so that air can pass through freely. The fabric has tiny holes also cut out along the sides and bottom. This allows air to flow through but prevents dust, grime, and other impurities from entering the mask.
Because face coverings are meant to cover the entire head, they often include a face guard. A face guard is a mesh flap or elastic that’s sewn around the brow area and the bridge of the nose to securely lock in the wearer’s features. Some come with adjustable nose pads that can be taken off for cleaning purposes, while others are designed to be completely sealed against the wearer. Some also include chin straps to securely hold the face mask within the chin during a normal exposure.
Certain materials used to make face masks provide excellent protection against irritants, such as pollen and cold air, as well as against moisture and sweat. They are typically very lightweight, allowing even adults to wear them comfortably. Some materials, such as polyester fibers, feature wicking properties that make perspiration slide through the fabric rather than stay trapped against the mask. These types of face masks also tend to have small holes at the top to allow ventilation.
One major benefit of a face mask that includes wicking properties is that it reduces the transfer of pollen from outdoors to the wearer. Many people suffer from severe allergies that can cause symptoms including congestion, sneezing, coughing, dizziness, and even fatigue. When pollen is inhaled into the lungs, the respiratory tract is damaged by tiny droplets that are released as the wind blows through the face mask. While some may find this a comfort, it also makes it difficult to breathe when the droplets are trapped inside the linings of the mask. As an alternative, some manufacturers include a non-wicking material inside the fabric that reduces or nullifies the effect of the pollen.
These types of masks have many practical uses. Above all else, though, they protect your health and well-being during the flu season. While no type of face mask can provide 100% protection, they can provide a significant amount of protection when combined with good general health habits and good avoidance of the common cold. During the cold winter months, as well, they can keep children from getting severely sick as well.