Different Kinds of Masks and Their Uses

With the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, it has become essential for all the people around the world to maintain social distance and wear a mask when in public. With a vast variety of masks available to the public, it can be challenging to not know which one is the most effective. In a time when epidemic is lurking around, it is important to know how a P2 mask is different from a homemade or a surgical mask. Here is a list of the different kinds of masks, along with information on how much filtration they provide:

N95 or P2 Mask

An N95 or a P2 mask are essentially the same in many respects and offer significant protection from viruses, germs and other respiratory illnesses. People who wear P2 masks are protected from harmful particulates in the atmosphere they breathe in since the mask filters out 95% of pollutants. To protect people around you from your own respiratory spray, you may opt for some other masks on the list. Fabric and disposable masks also filter particulates to various degrees. Thus they provide personal protection.

In the meanwhile, N95 masks are in short supply. They are, however, not recommended for the general population. N95 masks are only to be used by healthcare workers who require them.


These masks go over the mouth and nose and include a metal strip on top that allows the wearer to fasten the mask at their nasal bridge. Masks with conical shapes are less successful at retaining drops and spray than masks made of quilting cotton, a more durable material. It is far more effective to use cone-shaped masks rather than a simple cotton mask.


White and light blue are standard colours for these paper-like masks that are flat and thin. Surgical face masks can filter out smaller inhaled particles to the tune of 60 per cent. Studies have shown that wearing surgical masks attentively in public places can significantly limit respiratory infections.


Outdoor enthusiasts frequently carry neck gaiters (a tube of cloth worn around the neck that can be pushed up or down as needed to protect the face and neck) or balaclavas (tight-fitting garments that cover the head and neck) with them while they’re out in the wilderness. While they can be used to protect the mouth from the new coronavirus, they may also give some protection against its transmission.

It must be borne in mind that many gaiters are made of synthetic fabric, which does not seem efficient in limiting the spread of tiny particles like natural fibres, such as cotton. Moreover, recent research revealed that neck gaiters made of synthetic fleece might do more damage than help since they aerosolise the wearer’s breathing droplets.


Store-bought masks have filter pockets; you can also stitch cloth masks with a pocket for a filter by sewing the filter into the material. Place the facial tissue in its fold into the pocket of the filtration device. Changing the tissue filter on a daily basis is recommended.

Filters made of polypropylene, a potent synthetic fabric that can hold an electrostatic charge, are recommended (which helps trap small particles). If a two-layer cotton mask has a polypropylene filter added, the filtering effectiveness may be increased from 35% to 70%.

Homemade Cloth Masks

Single-layer masks may only be able to filter out 1% of particles. A two-layer cotton mask filters out small particles by roughly 35%, so the user is protected. You may minimise your droplet spray from 8 feet to 2 12 inches by using a cotton face mask, which decreases the number of possibly virus-containing particles you discharge into the air.

How a handmade cloth face mask is constructed determines how successfully it will protect you from germs. Choosing densely woven cotton fabrics, such as quilting cotton, is preferable as they’re more durable. Compared to double-layer masks, single-layer masks are less effective.

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