How to Choose the Right Face Mask for Safety and Protection
After the COVID-19 pandemic, face masks have become crucial in everyone’s daily lives. Wearing a face mask helps prevent the spread of the virus and protects the wearer from getting infected. As the number of COVID-19 cases in Australia decreases, some states and territories have eased their restrictions on wearing masks. However, Australian made face masks are still recommended when social distancing is challenging, and many businesses and public transport services require masks to be worn.
It’s important to note that there are rules and regulations regarding the sale and labelling of masks in Australia. For example, masks sold in Australia must meet the requirements of the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for safety and effectiveness. The TGA regulates medical devices, including masks, and has set standards for performance, quality, and labelling.
When wearing masks, each state and territory may have slightly different rules. For example, in Victoria, masks are mandatory indoors in all public places and outdoors where social distancing cannot be maintained. In New South Wales, masks are recommended but optional in public transport and where social distancing is challenging to maintain.
Overall, masks are likely to remain essential to preventing the spread of COVID-19 in Australia, even as restrictions are eased. Following the rules and guidelines specific to your area and wearing masks in situations where they are recommended can help keep our communities safe and healthy. However, choosing a suitable face mask can be overwhelming with so many available options. This guide will walk you through the different types of Australian made face masks and help you select the right one for your needs.
N95 masks are the most effective face masks for protection against the virus. These masks filter out at least 95% of airborne particles, including large respiratory droplets and smaller aerosols. They are designed to fit snugly over the nose and mouth, forming a seal to prevent the entry of contaminated air. N95 masks are recommended for healthcare workers exposed to the virus daily. However, they are in short supply and should be reserved for medical professionals.
Surgical masks are the most common face masks worn by the general public. They are disposable, loose-fitting masks that cover the nose and mouth. These masks are designed to protect others from the wearer’s respiratory droplets. They are not designed to protect the wearer from getting infected, but they offer some protection against larger droplets. Surgical masks are widely available and affordable, making them popular for everyday use.
Cloth masks are reusable face masks made of cotton, polyester, or both. They are designed to cover the nose and mouth and are available in different styles, including pleated, fitted, and gaiter-style masks. Cloth masks offer some protection against the virus by preventing respiratory droplets from spreading to others. They are also comfortable to wear and can be washed and reused. Cloth masks are suitable for everyday use but are not recommended for high-risk situations.
Valve masks have a one-way valve that allows exhaled air to escape. While these masks protect the wearer, they do not protect others from the wearer’s respiratory droplets. Valve masks are not recommended in public settings where social distancing is challenging to maintain.
Choosing a suitable face mask can be daunting, but it’s essential for protecting yourself and others from the virus. The type of mask you choose depends on your needs and the situation you’re in. If you’re a healthcare worker or in a high-risk environment, an N95 or NIOSH-approved mask is recommended. For everyday use, a surgical or cloth mask is sufficient. It’s essential to wear a mask correctly, covering both the nose and mouth and to practice good hygiene, such as washing your hands regularly and