The current pandemic situation due to COVID-19 changes the human lifestyle worldwide. ‘Lockdown’ is one of the potential strategies to lower down the rate of infection among the public, leading to work from home for most of the country. This wouldn’t have been possible without the internet and “Digital India”. It has helped us stay us connected not just to work but to our family members who we could not meet due to the pandemic.
With the pandemic being a part of our lives for now, country men have taken substantial precautions to be away from the contagious infection. Everyone seems to be following the new way of living. They practice necessary precautions such as following Social Distancing, frequently washing hands, coughing or sneezing in self bent elbow and not on hands, sanitizing every touchable surface with alcohol (ethanol) or Terpineol based disinfectant, wearing face shield to protect eyes and wearing mask in order to cover Nose and Mouth, to prevent the entry of virus particles. As infection spread through respiratory droplet particles, thus prevention by wearing mask is the best way to say safe.
In India the mask slogan become famous- “ApnaMask Pehnega India, Corona Se Ladega India” with a #ApnaDeshApnaMask. This motive is a plea to theIndian citizens to wear self made reusable masks. As we know, India is a developing country with a more than 130crore and manufacturing this huge number of mask is really a challenge for any company. Moreover, poor people can’t afford to buy expensive mask. Thus Govt. started this initiative where any old piece of cloth can be used as a mask. Hence, this initiative led to designing masks and Indians were seen leveraging this. It is because of this that today Indian market is selling urban and contemporary prints in masks as well. These are totally inspired by fashion and are readily accepted by men and women. Being a Microbiologist, I suggest every designer to take a clean old piece of cloth for making mask and make a minimum of three layers, outer and inner can be cotton and in between with a filter or 3 to 6 layer with dense cotton can be designed. Also, wash and dry the cloth before making mask even using it, please don’t invite bacterial or fungal infection by using dirty cloth. Better not to use valve mask, valve used for other purpose not to inhibit the entry virus or other microorganism.
How to Choose the Right Types of Mask
Recently one Italian swimwear fashion designer made a three piece matching beachwear name “Trikini” for beach girls. This is a creative funny solution and become popular in this pandemic.
Classification of mask according to protection and safety levels:
When the infectious microorganism is a virus then only one “N95 mask” can give you 95% protection, as it’s made of six layers and each layers having different pore size. The size of Corona virus (SARS-CoV-2) is 60-140 nanometer (10-9 meter), thus can’t penetrate the layers. Most of the time N95 mask used by bio-safety level 3 laboratory workers or researcher.
Medical or Surgical Mask:
The safety and protection level of surgical mask is also pretty good, as it made of three layers thus can also prevent the entry of virus, bacteria, dust and dirt. Surgical mask made of “melt-blown”, that having the pore size 0.1 nanometer (10-9 meter) layer sandwiches in two “non-oven” fabric layer.
Filtering Face Piece Mask or FFP1/FFP2/FFP3:
These are high protective mask such as FFP1, FFP 2, FFP 3 made according to the bio-safety levels.
Active Carbone Mask:
This mask mainly used for odour protection such as that of carbon has the capability to absorb smell. But not effective against virus, however can gives 50% protection against bacteria.
This can protect one from entry of bacteria, dust, pollen grain, etc. Safety level increases according to the increase in layer as pore size reduces. However, not effective against virus and penetration of respiratory droplet also in the doubt!!
Just a waste of money, the pores are so large that it can’t even prevent dust particles. Not advisable to buy for Corona Protection.
Classification of Mask according to its Shape and Style:
Generally you can see people wearing various shape of reusable mask, some fit better some are not. Most of them having two or three layers, with printed. Print can be anything such as floral, kids favourite cartoon chanter or print of your own face. It’s also available in solid colours. But there are different name given by the designer according to the shape, one should choose the best fit one for maximum protection form suspects.
Straight Fit Face Mask:
This is the simplest one available worldwide and anyone can make it at home with stitching a single piece of cloth. However, it is always better if fabric is pure cotton and made by folding in double layered.
Contour Fit Face Mask:
A Mask that not only covers nose and mouth but also contour. It mostly available in two to three layer. The fabrics are different in inner most of the time made from soft cotton lycra and outer layer can be made with bit thick synthetic or cotton fabric.
Duckbill Fit Face Mask:
As name suggests it look like a duck beak. It can be available at three to six layers. The highest protective N95 mask also available in this shape.
Dome Fit Face Mask:
As name suggests the shape is dome like. It Mostly bicker mask to dust and pollution made in this shape. Inner layer is soft cottony and outer layer is hard with a nose clip. Mainly available are disposable type with a small ventex valve. But valve has no use here to protect from
Snug Fit Face Mask:
Just a surgical mask fits well, a snug mask is similar. It is well fitted on the mouth and the nose.
Scarf Fit Face Mask:
As most of the Indian girl use their scarf since from a long time in order to protect face for dust and pollution. This type of mask is just a bit modification of it. This mask is available in two to three layers, made with soft cotton inner layer and stylish georgette layer.
Zip Face Mask:
An innovation to zip it up and feasibility for eating. It’s just for fun never can protected from virus or other microorganism. Please don’t waste money on it.
World Health Organisation (WHO) gives proper guidelines “How to use non-medical/ reusable mask”, but it’s our responsibility to follow the precautionary guidelines for own safety purpose. Such as clean hands before touching the mask, make sure there is no gap on the side after wearing the mask, frequently washing mask with soap or detergent in hot water, always use clean and dry mask, never share mask of one person to other etc. One should check the WHO website and WHO social media post for regular update.
Your safe is your style statement now, so be stylish. Keep a thought in mind that a face mask can hide your face, but can’t hide your smile! Thus keep smiling, stay positive, and stay safe and fashionable.
About the Author:
WEAA Miss India Talented 2020 &
PhD Scholar (Specialization Microbiology)
National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management,
Sonipat- 131 028, Haryana, India.