Why is the fit of a mask important? – Nirvana Being
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Why is the fit of a mask important?

by Nirvana Being on May 26, 2021

With the coronavirus ravaging the population all over the globe, masks have become one of the most common tools for protection. Ever since the beginning of the pandemic, people have been advised to wear masks to keep themselves safe from the virus. However, a recent study shows that a simple misfit can reduce the effectiveness of a mask significantly. This has made it necessary for everyone to ensure that the masks they wear fit properly. 

 An understanding of why fitting is necessary?

The way a mask functions is quite simple. It filters the air before it reaches your nose or mouth. In case of N95 pollution mask, the air does not even pass through the body of the mask. Instead, the air passes through the respirator attached to the mask and undergoes filtration in the process. Now, if a mask does not fit well, it would leave a gap between the mask and your skin. 

As long as such a gap exists, particles in the air can easily slip in and out without undergoing the filtration process. This implies that you could potentially inhale the virus or release it into the air in case you are already infected. The mask plays a crucial role in protecting you as well as the others and so does the fitting. 

 How can you check if your mask fits properly?

Now, even a slight misfit can potentially open up a gap. It might seem difficult to find such small gaps. However, here are a few ways in which you may go about it:

  • Warm air: Unless there is a gap between the mask and your face, the air you breath out should pass through the front of the mask. Place your hands over it and check if warm air is exiting through the mask. 
  • Airflow: You may cup your hands around the edges of the mask to feel for any airflow exiting through there. This is typically a problem for people with smaller facial profiles. 
  • Smell: Try to smell something that has a strong scent while wearing the mask. If the mask has enough layers and fits properly, you would get either a very faint smell or no smell at all. 
  • Other than the ways mentioned above, you may also try to observe whether the material of your mask moves in and out as you breathe. You should be able to feel warm air against your skin inside the mask if it fits properly. 

     How should a mask ideally fit?

    Air should not be able to enter or exit from the sides of your nose and the cheeks. Make sure that the air you breathe always enters through the filtration system only. Usually, it is around the curvature of the cheekbones that gaps appear. To ensure that your mask fits around the cheekbones and nose, you may use a mask fitter or wear a mask with a nose band.  

    Individuals often underestimate the importance of how well a mask fits them. A recent study showed that the fitting is more important than the material of the mask. Unless your mask fits you properly, you would always be at the risk of getting infected.

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