Strong evidence shows that when enough people in a community use them correctly, most masks that are used to cover the mouth and nose can reduce the risk of transmitting diseases through respiratory droplets, such as the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19.
However, masks do not offer perfect protection. There are many issues with the designs of both single-use and reusable cloth masks that make the protection they offer less than ideal. In response to this, what some experts are now advocating is to use an anti-microbial face mask instead.
Anti-microbial masks promise to address many of the issues people have had with regular single-use and reusable cloth masks. Companies that make these masks, such as Ghluv, incorporate technologies such as HeiQ Viroblock to neutralize microorganisms the masks come in contact with. This is in contrast with regular masks that become more and more contaminated with each use.
Here are some of the reasons you might want to make the switch.
1.) They’re Self-Sanitizing
The major benefit offered by anti-microbial masks is that they do not require immediate replacement, thorough washing, or the use of disinfectants after each use. Anti-microbial masks incorporate some type of technology that passively destroys or neutralizes bacteria, viruses, fungal spores, and other potentially harmful microorganisms on contact without the need for washing or the use of chemical agents.
By contrast, regular masks need to be either replaced or sanitized properly after each use to be effective. Regular masks will become contaminated with all kinds of nasty germs over time, including the ones responsible for strep throat, the common cold, and even halitosis. And this is even when the user is healthy. If they are sick or have been exposed to someone with a contagious disease, then the lack of self-sanitization makes it critical for the user to avoid touching the mask.
2.) They Reduce the Risk of Cross-Contamination
Cross-contamination happens when microbes from one surface are unintentionally transferred to a clean surface. This can happen very easily when you unintentionally touch a clean mask with contaminated hands or a dirty mask with clean hands.
Unfortunately, some face masks can be quite uncomfortable to use without constant readjustment. This can increase the risk of cross-contamination and compromise the protection a mask offers.
Anti-microbial masks are far less susceptible to issues with cross-contamination, as most microbes are neutralized on contact with the mask. This not only makes them safer but more forgiving to use as well.
3.) Antimicrobial Masks Require Less Attention to Use Correctly
Unfortunately, mask misuse is common. Normal masks without anti-microbial technology can quickly get contaminated by all kinds of germs. Because of this, regular face masks either have to be washed or replaced with a fresh one after each use, depending on their type. Users also need to be especially careful to handle the mask properly, never touching the front with their bare hands.
This type of attention to usage is too much to ask for most people who may be concentrating on other day-to-day activities. The lack of attention can make using a mask more of a placebo than serious protection in some cases.
By contrast, because anti-microbial masks passively destroy pathogens over time, this kind of active attention is far less important. You can absent-mindedly use an anti-microbial mask in a way that would be considered “wrong” for other mask types and still get most of the benefits of wearing a mask. This ease of use may be the biggest reason to consider getting anti-microbial masks for yourself, your household, and other people in your community.
4.) They’re Easier for Children to Use
Going off the previous point, the ease of use of anti-microbial masks makes them the ideal type to give to children. Children aren’t always as aware as adults, which can mean that they are more likely to misuse masks or unintentionally cause some kind of cross-contamination. Anti-microbial masks, by contrast, are more forgiving to use, which makes them a better way to protect your child and others around them.
5.) More Sustainable Compared to Single-Use Masks
Single-use masks are a critical piece of personal protective equipment for trained medical workers. And because of the recent demand for them, they have also become an emerging environmental hazard. This has led many to question who should be wearing these masks.
While crucial for medical workers and other professionals trained in their use, single-use masks don’t make as much sense for most regular people, who, as we mentioned earlier, may not be able to use them correctly. For most people, anti-microbial masks make more sense while being the more environmentally sustainable choice as well since they can be reused many times before they are disposed.
6.) Antimicrobial masks can help reduce odors
The same anti-microbial technology that neutralizes dangerous microbes can also control odor-causing bacteria. This can make it easier for those who dislike wearing masks to get accustomed to them. Regular folks who need to wear masks all day as well as small children will likely appreciate the odor-reduction anti-microbial face masks offer.
At the end of the day, social distancing and proper handwashingare still the best ways to avoid getting droplet-borne illnesses such as the flu, the common cold, and COVID-19. Anti-microbial masks, however, are still an incredibly welcome way of protecting the community and making sure that the odds of avoiding these and other diseases are in our favor.