With worrisome new Coronavirus strains emerging which are seemingly more contagious than the initial strain, it is imperative to maintain a high level of protection. And the best way to do this is by wearing a more effective mask- which does not include three-ply masks and cloth masks.
“Now that we have more transmissible variants, we need everyone to try to add a specialty filter material to their mask setup.”
– Linsey Marr, scientist at Virginia Tech and expert on the transmission of COVID-19 through the air
Generally speaking, a 3-ply mask is made up of a melt-blown polymer placed between non-woven fabrics. The melt-blown material is supposed to act as a filter that stops microbes from entering or exiting the masks and pleats are commonly used to allow users to expand the mask such that it covers the area from the nose to the chin. However, it’s safe to say we are aware that the edges of 3-ply masks do not form a tight seal around your nose or mouth. Consequently, the air around you tends to find a path of least resistance, thereby allowing viruses and aerosol to enter your air passage, upon inhaling. Research also says that the melt-blown polymer used cannot filter out small airborne nanoparticles such as those transmitted by breathing or talking. In short, these masks can only filter exhaled air, removing/catching droplets, and do not offer filtration on inhaled air!
An effective mask must have a middle layer with a high quality filter, a good fit, low breathing resistance and high level of comfort. The filter of the mask plays a critical role in its efficiency. It is also responsible for the life of the mask. Therefore, it is crucial to check for the filtration efficiency that it offers.
It is equally important for the mask to be comfortable and provide a snug fit. If there is a gap, the air will enter your body unfiltered, thus, defeating the purpose of the mask. Another thing to consider is the breathability of the mask. Breathability and filtration efficiency may be on the opposite ends since filtration essentially means increased resistance. However, a good quality mask will have a comfortable balance allowing you to breathe well.
According to experts such as Dr. Abraar Karan (an internal medicine physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School), if we all wore N95 masks for four weeks, we could put an end to the pandemic. “We use N95 masks in the hospital, and I’ve taken care of more Covid patients than I can count,” he says. “Many of them were not wearing masks and coughed right in my face, and I never got infected!”
Having said that, there are many innovative N95 mask designs with superior filters in India which deserve due consideration- if you have the time and technical aptitude to understand the differences. Given the current problem of COVID-19 and air pollution, you need a mask which not just filters viruses but also pollution which is a constant. In other words, you need an antipollution, antiviral and antibacterial mask- an all in one solution. And we at Nirvana Being offer you just that with our latest mask called Airific 2.0.
With its unique nanotechnology filter in the middle layer, the Airific is tested with a viral and bacterial filtration efficiency > 95% by Nelson Labs USA. On the subject of certifications, the Airific is N95, FFP2 certified in India and certified as a Community Mask in the European Union as per CWA 17553:2020. It is also being widely adopted in the USA and is on its way to becoming a global Indian brand. These certifications and test results do instil confidence as we all find our new normal and wish to step out with confidence and have peace of mind in the New Year.
We all have a part to play in bringing an end to this pandemic. Do the responsible thing by upgrading your mask in your fight against COVID-19 and pollution.