The Best Mask of 2022? The one you can wear comfortably
With Omicron raging through the population and heated discussions over containment strategies, masks have become a hot topic for debate as well, with some health professionals calling for specific mask types to be recommended over others. So how can you make sense of it all? Read on to find out.
In a recent interview for ABC News, Rochelle Walensky, the director of the CDC, had the following to say about masks:
“What I will say is the best mask that you wear is the one you will wear and the one you can keep on all day long, which you can tolerate in public indoor settings and tolerate where you need to wear it. We will provide information on improved filtration that occurs with other masks such as N95’s and information that the public needs about how to make a choice of which mask is the right one for them, but most importantly we want to highlight that the best mask for you is the one that you can wear comfortably.”
Why is the debate over mask types coming up now?
Omicron is the most transmissible variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus thus far. Its high transmissibility is causing a huge surge in infections across the population. In lieu of Omicron’s high transmissibility, some health professionals are bringing up the need to relook at mask recommendations and types to try and offset the high transmissibility of the virus through high performance masks.
How do I evaluate mask performance?
Usually, mask effectiveness and performance tend to focus only on filtration without realizing that filtration is only one component of overall mask performance. If you’ve ever seen small children with a huge surgical mask covering up half their face while exposing huge side gaps, or a bearded man with an N95 mask fitting loosely over his face, you may realize filtration alone doesn’t cut it.
What are the three fundamentals of a good mask?
For a mask to truly perform, it needs to be breathable, bearable, and comfortable to wear as long as needed. Even the mask with the best filtration will not perform properly with poor fit. A mask that is impossible to breathe in or extremely uncomfortable to wear will become unbearable and will end up being removed prematurely.
A helpful way to pick out a mask is by referring to the Mask Performance Triangle. The Mask Performance Triangle shows what we all realize intuitively and logically and is also clearly communicated by the CDC – high filtration must be supported by good fit as well as by comfort and breathability. It is only when all three vertices of the triangle are achieved simultaneously that the mask can truly perform.
What are the 3 vertices of the Mask Performance Triangle?
The Mask Performance Triangle includes 3 essentials that, combined in one mask, support good performance. These are:
➤ Filtration performance: this means how well your mask catches and filters airborne particles. Look for a mask with a high filtration level. A mask like the SonoMask™ Pro filters out 97% of 3-micron airborne particles.
➤ Comfort & breathability: Masks are uncomfortable by definition. We therefore want to look for a mask that causes the least amount of grief and agitation while worn. A mask like the SonoMask™ Pro that is made of 3 layers of protection – an inner and outer layer made of soft, breathable poly/cotton blend fabric and a middle filter layer between them ensures breathable, bearable protection.
➤ Good fit & adjustability: Even the best filtration will be offset by poor fit. One size fits all disposable masks are not specific to different face shapes and sizes and therefore may prove to be ill-fitting or uncomfortable. The SonoMask™ Pro is all about adjustability. Choose from head straps or ear straps, both with adjustable sliders to ensure a comfortable, snug fit. The flexible nose wire will deliver an airtight seal and prevent your glasses from fogging up. And the ergonomic chin guard will keep your mask put as you move.
It is only when high filtration, good fit, comfort, and breathability are combined in one mask that the mask becomes bearable to wear and protection is maximized. When one or more of these properties is missing, protection is compromised either through mask performance or through our low tolerance to endure wearing a stifling mask for hours on end.
Does the SonoMask™ Pro have any other bonus features?
In addition to impressive filtration, ultimate comfort and breathability and excellent fit, the SonoMask™ Pro also includes a few extra features. The SonoMask™ Pro is treated with an antimicrobial agent using an eco-friendly innovative ultrasonic process. The antimicrobial properties become part of the fabric and maintain their performance for over 55 washes. These built-in antimicrobial properties offer the following advantages:
➤ Mask stays clean and hygienic: The antimicrobial properties protect the mask from becoming a reservoir for microorganisms. The mask stays clean and hygienic while you wear it.
➤ Mask smells fresh: The antimicrobial agent in the SonoMask™ Pro reduces the growth of odor-causing bacteria over time, so your mask smells fresh even after long hours of wear.
➤ Mask resists mold and mildew: The antimicrobial properties in the SonoMask™ Pro resist mold and mildew on the mask.
➤ No-fuss, low maintenance: because the SonoMask™ Pro stays clean and hygienic, you will only need to wash it periodically if it becomes stained or dirty. No more daily wear and wash ritual. How’s that for low maintenance?
With masks being our first line of defense against Omicron, we want to choose a mask that gives us the best combination of filtration, fit, comfort and breathability. The SonoMask™ Pro checks all these boxes and then some. With the SonoMask™ Pro we can go about our daily routine knowing that the SonoMask™ Pro’s got us covered.