Australia is home to 26,177,413 people, and like other nations, it too was severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. The Australian government implemented several rules and regulations to combat the pandemic and prevent the virus’s spread. And one of the most vital things amongst them was the use of face masks. While the government lifted most restrictions, wearing face masks in public places is still necessary. So, you must wear a good quality face mask made in Australia that repels droplets and offers adequate protection. You can also find some face masks that offer protection against droplets and are fit for use in healthcare or industrial settings. But you must know about the different types of masks and which is right for you.
- Surgical Masks
Surgical masks are a combination of plastics and paper. These masks effectively block large droplets or sprays and splashes containing germs. However, they may not be equally effective at blocking aerosols.
When buying a surgical mask, ensure it fits over your mouth and nose. It should have more than one layer of non-woven material and a nose wire. Also, you may wear surgical masks underneath cloth masks for better filtration and use a brace or mask fitter to get the perfect fit.
Besides, since these masks are disposable, you must adhere to government rules and regulations regarding their use and disposal to ensure your and others’ safety.
- Cloth Masks
Cloth masks are made from different materials and are widely available. These masks do not offer adequate protection against the Omicron variant. And since three new sub-variants of Omicron have been detected in Australia over the past few months, a cloth mask may not be the best choice as you head out.
Even so, if you prefer wearing cloth masks, ensure they have several layers of tightly woven breathable fabric fitting your mouth and nose properly. Also, it is best to avoid masks with openings around the nose, face, exhalation valves, or vents through which droplets can escape. Besides, refrain from using those masks made of single-layer or thin fabric that doesn’t block light.
You can also wear the cloth mask on top of your surgical mask for better filtration and fit.
- N95 Respirators
N95 respirators are respiratory protective devices that offer very effective filtration of airborne particles. Meanwhile, most N95 respirators you get are fit for use in an industrial setting or construction works where workers are exposed to small particles and dust.
Some N95 respirators work effectively in a healthcare setting. These respirators are disposable and worn by healthcare personnel during procedures to protect the patient and other personnel from particulate matter, body fluids and microorganisms.
- Barrier Face Coverings
Barrier face covering is a very common type of face mask made in Australia. These cover the mouth and nose for source control and particle filtration.
Barrier face coverings provide respiratory protection but cannot be considered an ideal replacement for respirators and surgical masks. Meanwhile, these coverings are made from non-flammable materials. However, for a mask to qualify as a barrier face covering, it must meet specific requirements regarding leakage, resistance, airflow and particulate filtration requirements.
- Face Shield
Face shields cannot substitute face masks. Shields are ineffective in protecting from respiratory droplets as they have gaps alongside and below the face.
Since shields do not provide adequate protection, you can combine them with proper eye protection equipment and a good face mask.
There is a wide range of options for masks and face coverings. And each mask has distinctive characteristics that offer different levels of protection from airborne particles. But no matter what mask you choose and in whatever setting you use, ensure it fits you perfectly and is dry and clean.