The debate over whether dust masks can protect you from COVID-19 or not never seems to end.
In this article, we will clear up a lot of confusion about face masks in general.
- What is a dust mask?
- What's the difference between dust masks and other face masks?
- Can a dust mask protect you from COVID-19?
After you read this article, you'll know exactly what face mask to wear in any given situation.
Let's start with discussing what a dust mask is.
What is Dust Mask?
People often confuse dust masks for N95 respirator. A dust mask is not approved by the NIOSH, meaning that it doesn't offer at least 95% filtration efficiency. Dust masks are disposable face covering that can be worn for comfort against non-toxic clouds of dust. However, they won't protect you against gases, vapors and hazardous dust.
Dust masks offer great protection for people who do a lot of mowing, dusting, sweeping and gardening. If you’re doing this type of work and you’re looking for extra protection, you can find dust masks here.
What's the Difference Between Dust Masks, N95 Face Masks, and Other Respirators?
Not all face masks are created equal. Some offer you greater protection while others provide you with more comfort and less protection. Choosing the right face mask for you will entirely depend on what type of job you're working.
Let's go through each type of face mask and see what's the difference between them.
Dust masks, also-known-as surgical masks, are loose-fitting face coverings that don't create a tight seal. Dusts masks stop liquids from coming out of your mouth. They don't filter the air that's coming in. Also, the dust mask won't protect you from inhaling dangerous particles coming from a cloud of smoke.
They may look similar to respirators like N95 face masks, but they don't offer the same level of protection. As a result, you shouldn't expect N95 protection from a dust mask. You should know that dust masks are disposable.
N95 Face Masks and P100 Respirators
These types of face coverings are made entirely from filtering material. The most commonly used are N95 face masks, while the P100s are more protective. Both of these respirators are approved and certified by the NIOSH, meaning that they filter at least 95% of air coming in. You can find and order N95 face masks here.
If you wear an N95 face mask or P100 respirator correctly, you'll be protected from small and dangerous particles. However, they won't filler fumes and gases. Both of these types of face coverings are disposable, and they offer great protection from COVID-19.
Half or Full-Face Masks
These face masks offer you even greater protection than N95 and P100 face masks. That's because they fit tightly, have replaceable filter cartridges and are extremely flexible. When you use these masks properly, they will protect you not only from the smoke but also from dangerous fumes and gases.
However, neither these face masks nor the N95 face coverings can supply you with oxygen when needed. But if you're looking for the ultimate protection from COVID-19, wearing either a half or full-face mask is an excellent choice.
Can a Dust Mask Protect You From COVID-19?
Despite the health recommendations like social distancing, coughing, and sneezing can spread virus bacteria six meters away. Coughing and sneezing without wearing an additional barrier like a face mask will increase the spread of a virus such as COVID-19.
However, disposable dust masks don't offer enough protection to stop the virus from entering your mouth. On the other hand, they do protect the others around you from getting infected. So, in a way, a dust mask can protect people from getting COVID-19, just not the person that wears the mask. If you and everyone around you wear a dust mask, then you can feel safer.
However, if you want to be completely protected from COVID-19, you should use N95 respirators. They filter at least 95% of all airborne particles, so it's harder for smaller bacteria to enter your body.
That doesn't mean that dust masks are useless. They will protect you against infections droplets but not against airborne viruses.
To summarize, dust masks are excellent in protecting you against non-toxic particles. However, they don't filter the air that's coming in, so they won't be able to protect you from COVID-19. If you're infected with the virus, they will stop you from spreading it every time you sneeze or cough.
To be protected from viruses like COVID-19, you should use N95 face masks or respirators. They are approved and certified by the NIOSH, which makes them extremely reliable.
If you don't find the N95 face masks comfortable, you can wear dust masks but don't expect them to protect you from every dangerous particle coming your way. Also, dust masks are disposable meaning that you have to use a new one each time you go out, which makes them slightly inconvenient.
If you want a mask that’s both protective and reusable, you should get yourself an N95 face mask. Stay safe and stay well.