Some trendy face mask styles, accessories may not offer the best protection

Updated: Sep. 21, 2020 at 4:34 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The hottest accessory right now may be the mask, but not all masks are created equally; some trendy ideas have popped up on the mask market world.

Connie DeLeo, infection preventionist at Baton Rouge General (BRG), explains what works and what doesn’t. She says basic mask criteria is still the same.

“It needs to cover your nose, it needs to not gap on the sides by your ears, and it needs to go all the way below your chin,” DeLeo demonstrated.

Your mask needs to create a seal around your mouth and nose, according to CDC standards. However, DeLeo warns you need to be wary of some mask variations out there, like the ones with breathing valves.

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“Those masks are not recommended at all because then they allow the transfer of the droplets back and forth,” she said.

The goal of a mask is to keep your droplet particles inside. Any gaps or holes can compromise that. When you insert something into your mask, like the 3D mouth brackets, make sure it does not pull your mask too far away from your face.

Not all face masks are created equally.
Not all face masks are created equally.(WAFB)

“If there is a gap here, here, or on the sides, you’re basically allowing those droplet particles to come out and to possibly to come in as well,” said the infection preventionist.

She added masks with the clear mouth window are okay though, as long as there are no gaps in the materials. She says those may not always be as convenient.

“It’s not as comfortable to wear. It’s also not as easy to clean,” said DeLeo.

A clean mask is a working mask. Any dirt or grime on your mask can weaken its ability to protect those around you.

Face shields are another option in the face protection market. They primarily work to protect your eyes.

“They do not recommend a face shield as an alternative to a mask,” said DeLeo.

She says a face shield on its own is no good because droplet particles can escape on all edges of the shield. However, a face shield plus a mask to cover your nose and mouth is great protection.

At the end of the day, DeLeo says some type of mask is better than no mask. It’s best to have a few on hand and to keep them clean regularly.

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