16 June, 2021

Different kinds of masks and their effectiveness

Different kinds of masks and their effectiveness

The WHO (World Health Organization), CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), and several health officials recommend wearing masks to control the spread of novel coronavirus, which then causes COVID-19. People these days are wearing several kinds of masks which include N95 masks, KN95 masks, surgical masks, bandanas, cloth masks, among others. For a lot of people, mask choice is entirely dependent on its availability. But, how truly effective are these face coverings? Well, worry not as we are here to provide you with enough information regarding different types of face masks and their effectiveness in containing droplets spread from sneezes and coughs.

#1. N95

The N95 face masks provide the most protection against novel coronavirus and other respiratory diseases. They can help the person who is wearing the mask, as it can filter out 95% of particles from the air breathed in. The number 95 represents the percentage of airborne particles that the mask can keep away. In most places, healthcare professionals are trained to pass a test to confirm the mask is sealed properly.

#2. Surgical masks

Surgical masks or medical masks are disposable, loose-fitting masks that cover your nose, mouth, and chin. They are usually used for:

  • Protecting you from sprays, large-particle droplets, and splashes
  • Helps prevent the transmission of potentially infectious respiratory secretions from the person wearing to others.
  • Surgical masks may vary in design; however, the mask is often flat and rectangular in shape with flats or pleats.

    #3. KN95 masks

    This kind of filtering facepiece respirator is commonly made and used in China. KN95 masks are preferred in situations that require prolonged close contact with people who do not live in the same house or are the risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

    #4. Bandana

    To begin with, a bandana is a triangular or even square piece of cloth that is often worn by people as a head or neck covering. If you place a bandana over your nose and mouth, it is a time-honoured way of keeping the dust and other particles out of the respiratory tract. Fun fact- this is the reason why cowboys use them during roundups.

    The bandana does provide some protection against droplets and cough. Without any kind of nose or mouth covering, droplets are capable of travelling more than 8 feet, as per the research done by Florida Atlantic University. Furthermore, wearing a bandana has the potential to decrease that to about 4 feet.

    #5. Store-bought cloth mask

    How effective the cloth mask is, entirely dependent on its construction. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, you should keep an eye out for a mask that has at least three layers of fabric. According to Steffen Eikenberry, a postdoctoral scholar at Arizona State University (who studied the effectiveness of the mask) mentioned that a cloth mask “is probably at least 50 per cent” protective. Although “high-quality masks could be 80-95 per cent protective, and even low-quality masks made of very thin materials could still be 10-20 per cent protective,” he added. Furthermore, cloth masks do not provide 95% efficiency as per several researches.


    As per the World Health Organization (WHO), you should wear a face mask in public when it is not possible to maintain at least a 1-meter distance from the people around you. Moreover, face masks are only effective if they are worn correctly. Now, based on information, we recommend opting for safekind N95 masks as it provides maximum efficiency against COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases.

    Tags : Mask
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    Disclaimer This blog solely intended for the educational/informational/awareness purposes and is not a substitute for any professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult your doctor/healthcare professional before acting on the information provided on the blog. Reliance on any or all information provided in the blog, is solely at your own risk and responsibility. Mankind Pharma Limited shall not be held liable, in any circumstance whatsoever.