The Types of Masks Recommended
There are 3 types of masks recommended in the prevention of COVID-19, namely cloth masks, surgical masks and N95 or N99 masks.
1. Cloth Mask
The WHO recommends cloth masks consist of 3 layers. The first layer is recommended to use a material that can absorb droplets, the second layer can be in the form of a tissue insert or equivalent to the material in the first layer, and the third layer, or a third layer made of hydrophobic material, which is a type of material that is able to prevent the entry of droplets.
This 3-ply cloth mask has been proven to be effective at holding 70% of droplet particles that will enter the respiratory tract. Cloth masks should not be worn all day, cloth masks should be replaced immediately when dirty, wet or replaced with clean ones after 4 hours of use. Cloth masks made of scuba or rubber are not recommended for use.
Cloth masks should consist of three layers with a combination of the following materials:
The first layer, which is the innermost part (the part that touches the mouth and nose) is expected to be made of cotton or cotton blends.
The second layer, namely the middle is made of polypropylene or cotton material.
The third layer, which is the outermost part that first comes into contact with air or other contaminant particles, is made of polypropylene, polyester, or a combination of both.
2. Surgical Mask
Masks have a higher effectiveness in filtering germs, viruses and droplets or other small particles than cloth masks, which are able to hold about 80-90% of droplets that enter the respiratory tract. Just like cloth masks, medical masks must be used once or after 4 hours of use, they must be replaced with new, clean masks.
This cloth mask is especially mandatory for sick patients and health workers who do not directly handle COVID-19 patients. With the current condition of increasing the number of COVID-19 cases, it is also recommended that the use of masks should also be given an inner layer, so that the filtering power against germs will be higher.
3. N95/N99 Mask
N95 and N99 masks are able to filter 95% - 99% of particles from very small air that is as small as 0.3 microns. These masks must be worn by officers who handle COVID-10 patients directly and must also wear N95 / N99 masks along with level 3 personal protective equipment (PPE). These N95 / N99 masks are all large in size and are not designed for children.
How to use a Mask Correctly
Pay attention to how to use a mask correctly below:
- Before putting on the mask, make sure your hands are clean, for that wash your hands with soap and running water or if not available then use hand sanitizer / hand sanitizer.
- Make sure the width of the mask matches the size of the face from the top of the nose to the bottom of the chin.
- Put on the mask as tightly as possible. If it is a medical mask, put the colored part on the outside and the part with the iron on the nose.
- The mask must cover the mouth, nose and chin, and ensure that there are no gaps between the face and the mask so that no particles or contaminants can enter through these gaps.
- Press the top of the mask so that it follows the shape of the nose and pull it down to cover the chin so that the droplets do not come out of that part.
- While wearing a mask, avoid always holding the outside of the mask so that your hands are not contaminated by contaminants/viruses/germs attached to the surface of the mask or after handling the surface of the mask, wash your hands immediately or use a hand sanitizer.
- Do not turn the outer part of the cloth mask into the inside alternately for one use, this is because dirt or other contaminant particles adhering to the outside will eventually be inhaled directly when turned inside out.
- After 4 hours of use, or before 4 hours of use but the mask is wet or dirty, take it off immediately and replace the mask with a clean one.
- When opening the mask, hold the mask strap, remove it from back to front and don't touch the front of the mask. For one-time use masks, throw them in a closed trash can or plastic bag, while for cloth masks, wash them immediately with detergent and always wash your hands after removing the mask.
The three types of masks are not able to filter very small particles in the air (airborne) that can be transmitted through coughing, sneezing, or certain medical procedures, so maintaining distance, avoiding crowds, especially in closed spaces, and diligently washing hands are still needed to prevent transmission of COVID -19.
Figure 13. How to Use the Correct Mask
Figure 14. How to Use the Wrong Mask