The latest COVID variant, Omicron, may be just as villainous as it sounds.
It’s been causing mass panic in the United States, with borders closing and health officials racing to research its transmissibility and risk.
Here in Louisiana, our mask mandate was lifted just over a month ago, but with this new variant, it’s likely that we’ll have to resort back to square one again to keep everyone safe.
Not much is known about Omicron yet, but what we do know is that like any other COVID variant, masks, social distancing, and frequent hand-washing are the best ways to protect yourself.
However, with so many mask options available, which one offers the best protection against Omicron?
Here’s what you need to know.
1. N95s are still the gold standard
N95s are the best mask available on the market for any COVID variant. Unfortunately, as healthcare workers are bracing themselves for the holiday uptick in cases–especially with Omicron now in the picture–we need to continue to reserve N95s for our frontline workers.
It’s also important to note that even if you are able to get your hands on these masks, they are not reusable and will need to be replaced frequently.
In addition, N95s can be bulky and uncomfortable to wear for an extended period of time, oftentimes rubbing your nose raw.
2. How to properly wear a mask
When wearing any type of mask, it’s important to follow the proper usage guidelines to get the most protection from it.
Here are some tips for properly wearing a mask:
- Wash your hands with soap and water before putting on or removing your mask. This will help keep bacteria on your hands from spreading to your nose or mouth when you touch your face.
- Make sure that your mask fits snugly around the edges but is comfortable to wear without cutting off your circulation.
- Wash reusable masks after every use and never re-use masks that are meant for single usage.
- Adjust and center your mask by adjusting both ear loops at the same time until you get a good seal with no gaps in coverage.
- Avoid touching your mask while it’s on your face.
- Replace your mask immediately if it becomes wet, soiled, or damaged in any way.
- Make sure it fits properly, covering your nose, mouth, and chin.
3. Cloth face masks can be customized to offer more protection
For cloth face masks, the more layers, the better. Masks made with at least two layers of breathable material will offer a thicker barrier to better protect you against airborne respiratory droplets that could potentially contain the virus.
Masks with a nose bridge and adjustable ear loops are also preferable, as they will offer a better fit (not to mention, nose bridges will also stop your glasses from fogging up). These features are key because a loose-fitting mask will leave holes around your face that virus particles can both enter and exit from.
If you’re going to be wearing a cloth face mask, it’s important that you also keep your hands clean and practice good hygiene.
In short, if you can’t get your hands on an N95, a good alternative is a well-fitting cloth face mask with multiple layers, adjustable ear loops, and a nose bridge. Contact Quality Face Wear today to customize your mask order! We offer singles and bulk orders of cloth face masks.