Types of mask
Medical-grade face masks (eg, N95, FFP3 or FFP2) should not be worn by members of the public. In fact, unofficial purchasing of these puts undue pressure on healthcare workers who, in some places, are suffering from lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks.
As such, non-medical face masks have become something of a talking point in fashion circles: many fashion brands are making and selling them (although reactions are mixed, especially when they are being offered as a luxury proposition) while a nation of crafters and underemployed machinists are selling their own designs on sites such as Etsy and eBay.
Increasingly, fashion brands are using idle factories and workers to respond to this and are allowing customers to order now for dispatch as soon as stock comes in.
Fabric designs vary from plain to jaunty to 'hypebeast', which might feel trivial, admittedly, but if it increases uptake and helps take the fear out of a practice that varies across the globe from recommended to compulsory, that can only be a good thing.
Masks need to be handled and worn in a particular way in order to provide adequate protection: they should snugly cover your nose and mouth and be handled from the back not the front. Hand-washing remains important, and hands should be washed with soap and water or cleaned with hand sanitising gel before and after putting on and removing the mask (from the back.)
Look for masks composed of natural fabrics such as cotton and linen which are preferable to polyester as the latter will cause you to sweat more and make wearing the mask less comfortable thus increasing the risk that you will fiddle with it, or even remove it early both of which behaviours carry risks.
Reusable masks are designed to be washed before being reworn. Each brand recommends different processes and temperatures for this so ensure that you take note in order to best care for your purchase.
When it comes to children wearing face masks, follow expert guidance on how to approach the conversation with your child and helpful ways to encourage safe wear, plus fun designs that can help take away the fear of such an alien accessory.
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