CDC recommends you avoid face masks with valves

Published Aug 15, 2020


CAPE TOWN - Face masks have become an essential part of your everyday life, serving the purpose of protecting yourself and those around you from Covid-19, but with many masks out there, some fancier looking than others, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends you avoid face masks with valves.

As the need for face masks rose during the pandemic, varying designs started popping up with unique features such as masks for athletes made from a breathable material such as polyester with 'moisture-wicking' qualities which draws sweat away from the skin, or fancy looking designs with breathable valves.

The main purpose of face masks during the pandemic is to reduce the spread of Covid-19 by containing the movement of respiratory droplets produced by exhaling, coughing or sneezing which carries the virus and may infect others who come in direct contact but some masks restrict the flow of respiratory droplets better than others.

The CDC , however, advises people to avoid face masks with valves or vents saying, "Masks with one-way valves or vents allow exhaled air to be expelled out through holes in the material. This can allow exhaled respiratory droplets to reach others and potentially spread the Covid-19 virus."

Buying face masks may be a bit more complicated than expected with certain materials having lower lifespans and numbered washes until effectiveness decreases raising the question of how reusable they really are or colourful facemasks made from ordinary fabrics which some found concerning due to restricting breathing and trapping CO2.

Face masks are meant to filter airflow and only restrict the spread of respiratory droplets, as there may be many different types of masks on the market, it is important to pick one up for yourself that best suits you and your needs whether its a face mask for exercise or grocery shopping.

Take a look at a study that highlights the least effective face masks here.

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