Using a face mask for coronavirus is increasingly common in the United States and across the world. In fact, the CDC (Center for Disease Control) has strongly recommended that Americans use a face mask for flu and other virus protection.
Disclaimer: The following information is not medical advice. For medical advice, please speak with your physician. Additionally, please see the Center for Disease Control website for current information on the evolution of the pandemic in your state and country.
Is There a Best Face Mask for Coronavirus?
The CDC has recommended that all Americans cover their nose and mouth, not invest in an N95 mask. In fact, the federal government advises Americans to save medical PPE (personal protective equipment) for healthcare and other essential workers so as not to worsen the current PPE shortage.
More specifically, the CDC recommends covering one’s nose and mouth, which may be accomplished with a variety of different gear. In other words, a medical face mask for coronavirus — such as an N95 model —may not be recommended for everyone. For medical advice, please see your physician.
7 Coronavirus Face Mask Examples
In response to the initial PPE shortage, dozens of manufacturers, clothing companies, and crafters have released coverings. Most of these, including the Casco Mask™, are classified as minimum performance coverings, meaning that they have not been tested per any ASTM standards. This means that they do not claim to provide any sort of filtration technology (we’ll get more into the types of ASTM testing later on).
There are many different kinds of gear used to limit the spread of COVID-19. Here is a quick overview of some of the different types. The following is meant for educational purposes. It is not medical advice.
1. N95 Face Mask and Coronavirus
Also known as a particulate respirator, the N95 is a special kind of mask with air filtration technology. It may be used in surgical theaters or in treating very ill patients. Governments have asked civilians not to purchase N95s online so as not to endanger the people who actually need them.
- Also known as respirators, N95s are designed to protect the user from air and water particles.
- They are highly regulated by the CDC and OSHA.
- These medical face masks require intensive filtration technology testing.
- Results from this testing require the blockage of a minimum of 95% of particles (hence their name).
N95s may be used as face masks for coronavirus treatment, especially healthcare and other essential workers. For specific advice regarding your health and N95s or any other type of covering, please speak with your physician.
2. Surgical Face Mask
A more loose-fitting design, these disposable face masks do not form a seal around the mouth and nose (unlike an N95). They are meant to create a barrier between the nose and mouth and environmental contaminants. These are also regulated by the federal government. They may be used in dental, medical, or surgical environments and are available in a variety of thicknesses and styles.
These disposable face masks are not designed to be shared or used more than once.
3. Face Shield Mask
Though sometimes confused with other coverings, a shield may be a clear thermoplastic sheet that covers the face and is attached to a headband component. It is not designed to provide any sort of filtration technology.
Unlike some coverings, it may be reusable, depending on the manufacturer’s specifications.
The Casco Shield is made in our ISO 13485 Certified facility in Maine, USA. It includes a comfortable, dishwasher safe headband and stretchy silicone strap. This allows for maximum adjustability. Every shield comes with a replacement visor and the option to add on additional visors, too.
4. White Face Mask
There are innumerable examples of covering made from white material available online right now. Some are medical and ASTM tested; Others are reusable cloth and simply made from white material. Please see manufacturers’ disclaimers to understand the filtration technology, if any, offered by a specific covering.
5. Reusable Earloop Face Mask
The patent-pending Casco Mask™ offers unique functionality from other, less adjustable coverings. In addition to being made in USA in an ISO 13485 Certified facility, the Casco Mask™ features:
- A comfortable universal fit
- Dishwasher safe design, making it easy to clean and re-use
- Convenient lanyard design
- Disposable non-woven mouth covers
- Made from medical-grade silicone
- Factory-direct pricing and quality
- Made in the USA
As a medical device manufacturer in Maine, our mission is to provide quality silicone products at factory-direct prices and reduce our nation’s dependence on global imports, especially during crises like this.
Our patent-pending minimum performance earloop face mask design was invented in response to the CDC’s recommendation that everyone cover their nose and mouth in public.
Disclaimer: We make no claims as to the filtration technology in our mask. The following information is meant as educational information. None of the content on this website is medical advice. Please see the CDC for up-to-date information on the pandemic.
6. Oxygen Mask
This mask is used in the treatment of pulmonary illnesses, such as COVID-19 pneumonia. Essentially, an oxygen device transfers gas from a tank to the user. There are full face and half face options (covering nose and mouth or just the mouth, respectively).
If you have a similar product you’d like to develop, please contact our manufacturer Casco Bay Molding. The sales team will get in touch with you with a quote.
7. CPAP Machine
Though similar in concept to a respirator, a CPAP machine is designed for occasional use rather than continued use in a healthcare facility. People suffering from sleep apnea — a sleep disorder in which a person stops and starts breathing during the night — often use a CPAP machine during the night to facilitate breathing.
Our manufacturer Casco Bay Molding has experience designing and producing CPAP components. Please reach out to them if you are interested in developing something similar.
Is There a Best Face Mask in General?
This is a decision to make with the advice of a healthcare professional. However, the CDC does not recommend using respirators, such as N95 masks, which should be reserved for healthcare professionals and at-risk essential workers. Instead, one could wear a simple face mask which does not have respiratory technology, such as our American-made design.
How Often Should One Use a Face Mask?
The CDC recommends wearing a face mask whenever in public. If you are looking for information specific to your lifestyle, see the CDC and state advisories and speak with a medical professional.
Here are a few examples of occasions for wearing a face mask:
- Grocery store
- Out for a walk
- While exercising
- When interacting with others while still practicing social distancing
- Any public place
A physician will have a better understanding of your lifestyle, work, and preexisting conditions. Please speak with your medical professional.
Using a Face Mask for Flu Prevention Is Customary in Other Cultures
Wearing a face mask for flu prevention has been more customary in Asian cultures than in the West for some time. In short, this tradition dates back to the SARS epidemic and bird flu, both of which hit Asian countries harder than the United States.
This is also why Asian countries like Singapore, Taiwan, and Korea have been more successful at stemming the COVID-19 outbreak: They have experience with coronavirus before and knew that harsh measures had to be imposed quickly. By contrast, the U.S. did not suffer from the SARS epidemic to the same degree — and Americans have only recently become comfortable wearing medical face masks.
Understanding How COVID-19 May Spread
Wondering why everyone is covering the nose and mouth these days? This is in response to government warnings based on scientific research on coronavirus transmission. There are two prevalent theories on COVID-19 transmission:
- The virus can be transferred person-to-person through air or fluid particles, especially when they come in contact with the eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Through surfaces, hard surfaces like metal and plastic especially, infected with the virus. How long do germs live on surfaces is still being studied.
In other words, a person may get coronavirus through droplets or air particles (cough or sneeze) emitted by a sick person or from touching something with the virus and then touching their eyes/nose/mouth. Essential workers who come into contact with commonly touched surfaces and the public have been deemed most at risk.
CDC Coronavirus Guidelines Beyond Face Masks
In light of CDC recommendations, face masks for coronavirus have gone mainstream in America. For specific information, please see the CDC website.
In addition to nose and mouth coverings, the CDC recommends such measures including but not limited to:
- Social distancing, meaning maintaining a distance of 6 ft or more.
- Hand-washing for a minimum of 20 seconds with warm water and soap
- Avoiding groups and crowded places
- Covering sneezes and coughs
- Disinfecting and cleaning commonly touched or dirty surfaces
- Paying attention to one’s health
Coronavirus and Face Masks: The Research
The CDC recommendation follows research that suggests that a significant percentage of people suffering from the virus are asymptomatic. This makes it essential to protect oneself from getting COVID-19 or unintentionally spreading it in public.
Personal Protective Equipment Is Essential for Healthcare Workers
Healthcare workers put themselves at extreme risk without surgical masks. They can contract COVID-19 from droplets entering their nose, mouth, or eyes or from touching something and then touching their face. What does a face mask do? It provides a barrier that may stop or reduce the spread of droplets. It can also stop someone from touching their face.
For people who believe they are infected with coronavirus, a medical mask may also keep them from emitting droplets from their mouths or noses and infecting those around them.
The average healthy person may also benefit from protecting their nose and mouth — and simultaneously stopping themselves from touching their face.
Introducing a Simple Face Mask Earloop Design
The patent-pending Casco Mask™ is a minimum performance face covering. It features a silicone lanyard that is dishwasher-safe and disposable mouth and nose covers, making it an affordable long-term solution.
We are also releasing a face mask shield featuring a medical-grade silicone and thermoplastic headband (also sold separately) and plastic visor components. Both will be available for wholesale shortly.
Disclaimer: We have not tested our mask for filtration capabilities and make no filtration claims. We do not guarantee protection from COVID-19 or any other airborne contaminants. The Casco Mask™ is not a replacement for personal protective equipment. None of the information on this site is intended as medical advice.