Normally, health workers use it as a disposable device, specifically for surgical purposes. However, for non-health workers like you, wearing a surgical mask is extremely advisable. It protects you from coronavirus contamination through saliva droplets: it has waterproof protection that blocks fluid droplets from touching your face. Therefore, it is important to wear one whenever you go outside.
With the many types of surgical masks available, it gets confusing which ones to choose. To help you out, we will discuss what you need to look for in surgical masks. So, let’s get started!
Is It Okay to Wear a Face Mask While Exercising?
Before you learn the factors in buying face masks, let’s discuss first if you can exercise with it on.
Wearing a face mask while exercising is okay. However, there are considerations you need to take into account. One thing is you must perform low- or moderate-intensity exercises. Doing high-intensity ones could cause suffocation as it requires more air for you to take in and out. With a face mask on, you will have limited air intake. Examples of exercises you can perform with a face mask on are:
- Ballroom dancing
- Active yoga forms like power yoga and vinyasa
- Recreational tennis
- Walking at a fast pace
Try talking when performing any of these exercises. This way, you know if you can do so without shortness of breath. Normally, when you do moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, you can talk. However, you cannot sing when performing it, or you will be out of breath.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Face Mask
Now that you know it’s okay to wear face masks when exercising, let’s proceed to the factors when buying them.
One important thing to consider when wearing a face mask during exercise is comfort. There are different sizes of face masks that fit various face sizes. Choose the size that feels most comfortable on your face. If the surgical mask is too tight or uncomfortable, it is a sign you must switch to a bigger size.
Exercising means you will be sweating a lot. This also means the material of the face mask matters. Most face masks are using non-woven fabric as their main material. However, they differ in the production process. Some have weak waterproof features, while others ensure they have this strong feature. For those with a durable waterproof feature, they don’t easily get wet, which makes them less vulnerable to infectious agents.
3. Level of Protection
Manufacturers test surgical masks based on the exhalation direction. That means the air path from your nose or mouth going to the outside. This is important in determining the bacterial filtration efficiency of the mask. There are two types of accepted standards for face masks: European and American.
For the European standard (EN), there are three types of face mask effectiveness:
- Type 1 has over 95% bacterial filtration efficiency.
- Type 2 has more than 98% bacterial filtration efficiency.
- Type R can protect you from liquid splash.
For the United States standards, they meet the ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) requirements. There are also three levels of bacterial protection:
- Level 1 – low risk of fluid exposure
- Level 2 – moderate risk of fluid exposure
- Level 3 – high risk of fluid exposure
4. Elastic Bands
Elastic bands or ear loops are also an important consideration. If the bands are too tight for your ears, it can feel extremely uncomfortable. If they are loose, they tend to expose your nose and mouth, and the mask won’t tighten on your face. So, get a mask with elastic bands that create a good fit for your face.
How to Properly Use a Surgical Mask
Proper use of a surgical mask on your face is important. If you don’t, infectious agents will still have a high chance of contaminating you. Here are the things you need to take note of when wearing a surgical mask:
- Make sure your face and hands are clean before wearing the face mask.
- Remove the mask from its packaging only by touching the elastic bands.
- You must bend the strip a little, so it tightens on your nose. When you do this, carefully touch the area with the strip only. Your goal is to minimize touching the mask as much as possible.
- The outer layer should be the colored side, while the white side should be touching your face.
- Upon wearing the mask, hold the elastic bands and position them properly around your ears. Make sure your ears feel comfortable with the bands.
- Position the mask properly on your face. Pull the edges of the mask carefully and make sure to touch the edges only. The mask should entirely cover your nose, mouth, and chin areas.
- Once the surgical mask is in place, avoid touching or repositioning it.
- Change your mask every 3-4 hours or after exposure to moderate or high fluid droplets.
- Remove the mask only when you change them. Hold the elastic bands only when you do so.
- Wash your hands clean after removing the mask.
Where to Buy High-Quality Surgical Masks
There are already a lot of manufacturers producing surgical masks. However, getting those with high quality is essential. You can check online to give you a lot of options.
One trusted company you can try is HisoMedical. They produce surgical masks made of non-woven fabric with 95%-99% efficiency for protection. Their masks are great for everyday use or medical workers. To see a sample of their products, check out this HisoMedical surgical mask.
Using a surgical mask when going to the gym or exercising outdoors is important. It protects you from infectious agents carried through droplets. This is especially true when you are exercising with a group of people. For increased protection, make sure to get surgical masks from a trusted manufacturer. So, grab a pack of surgical masks now and make your everyday workout protected and secure from COVID-19!