Finding Masks and PPE for Your Own Use: A Step-by-Step Guide
Since the pandemic first took the world by storm, it has been challenging to find adequate access to masks and other PPE (personal protective equipment) to reduce your risk of contracting the virus. To get back to life as we knew it pre-pandemic, people across the nation must follow local and federal guidelines for wearing masks.
Face mask and PPE shortage have affected the whole world, but with their use required in most public areas for employees and visitors’ safety, what can you do to secure a mask for yourself and your family?
The Different Types of Masks Available
When it comes to finding the right face mask for your needs, there are many different types on the market. The three most common types you can find in most stores are disposable masks, cloth masks, and N95 masks.
Disposable face masks are an excellent way to reduce your exposure to airborne particles, and they tend to fit tightly to your face for optimal protection.
Reusable cloth face masks trap droplets released when the wearer coughs, sneezes, or talks. Cloth masks are excellent and should be washed after each wear to keep you protected.
When it comes to personal protective equipment that protects the wearer, an N95 mask and respirator are top of the line. N95 options remove particles from the air that one could breathe in, and they filter out 95% of particles. They’re also capable of filtering out bacteria and viruses.
3 Steps to Finding Face Masks for Personal Use
When it comes to finding the right type of masks for your needs, it’s essential to choose the right style mask that suits your routine. Depending on your line of work and the number of people you will encounter while you’re out and about, there are a few steps you can take to find the right type of mask.
Step One: Mask Type
If you only encounter a few people at a time, if you have other protective measures in place, like shields and separators, a cloth mask will be more than enough protection. If you work in healthcare or encounter sick people, medical-grade N95 masks are your best bet.
Step Two: Correct Fit
Each style of face mask has a different fit, so take the time to find the most comfortable fit for you and the period you will need to wear it. Children should wear child-size masks, and adults who will wear them for most of their day should choose options that won’t pull on their ears for optimal comfort. If necessary, there are ways to make your mask more comfortable.
Step 3: Do You Need Additional PPE?
For most people, additional PPE like gowns, gloves, and respirators aren’t needed. However, if you’re handling many publicly touched items, wearing reusable or disposable gloves can be an excellent way to keep yourself protected.
Where to Start
The best place to start is by identifying which style mask will suit your needs best and how much protection you need for your day to day life. If you don’t need maximum safety, scaling it down can help you breathe easier so you can go about your day more comfortably. For more informative articles across every industry, check out our blog!