Face masks have become an symbol in the fight against the covid-19, with officials in the Europe countries and elsewhere recommending people wear a protective face make to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Deciding which one to wear is not so easy. N95 and medical masks, which offer the most protection and are heavily in demand, should be reserved for UK health care workers who are regularly exposed to infected patients.

Let’s look at a different type of face mask currently being used in the UK and understand which one suited best for you.

N95 Face Mask

The N95 face mask is the most effective & recognisable face mask in UK. Its name means it can block at least 95% of tiny particles — 0.3 microns — that are the hardest to capture. An average human hair is about 70 to 100 microns wide.

These masks, which are designed for single use, are made with polyester and other synthetic fibers, including layers of tangled fibers that act as a filter to make it harder for particles to pass through.

Make sure there are no gaps between the edge of the mask and your skin. This one includes a nose piece that is molded to your face. Many health care and other workers do annual fit tests that check for air leakage and ensure that masks are sized and fit properly. (If you have facial hair, you won’t get a proper fit. They don’t fit well on children, either.)

Medical Face Mask

UK face make manufacturers are currently couldn’t produce enough this type of face mask.

Medical masks come in a few varieties and are less effective than N95s: Some filter as much as 60 to 80 percent of small particles under lab conditions. When worn properly, they can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus by catching droplets when you cough or sneeze.

Medical masks are often made out of layers of breathable, paperlike synthetic fabric that is cut into a rectangular shape and has pleats to help it expand and fit more snugly around your face. They are disposable and designed to be used just once.

While they can protect you from large droplets and splatter, their looser fit is partly what makes them less effective than N95s.

Homemade face mask

With medical masks in short supply, many have turned to making or buying homemade ones. Depending on the fabric and how it’s made, a homemade mask can sometimes protect the way a simple medical version does. And any face covering is better than nothing

A good homemade mask uses a material that is dense enough to capture viral particles, but breathable enough that you can tolerate it. This one is made of cotton fabric.

You can also use materials like a heavy cotton t-shirt, flannel or a tightly woven dish towel. Material with a higher thread count — which allows very little light to filter through — will likely offer the best protection.

Various patterns for making a cotton mask have spread around the internet. Look for one that has at least two layers of material, comes up over your nose and below your chin and has secure straps.

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A mask is effective only if worn properly, fitting snugly from the top of the nose to below the chin with no gaps. Masks should be worn the entire time you are outside, and should not be moved up and down. While no mask is 100 percent effective, it can help keep both you and others safe when combined with social distancing and regular hand washing.

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Source NY Times.