Should you be wearing a mask at home or not wear a mask inside your home? There are many factors that decide the answer for that, but one thing is certain, you must wear a mask if you are stepping outside for any work or are going to come in close proximity with another human being, knowingly or unknowingly. It can never be clear whether they may be asymptomatic, mat someone who is in turn infected, just not shown any symptoms yet or are simply and callously ignoring that they may have COVID, even one of the milder variants. It is up to you to keep yourself protected, no matter what. And for that, a good mask is very essential. Just any face mask or face cover will not do—that will not be able to capture or block the droplets or virus particles. Go searching for a mask, and you’ll have quite literally a million choices in front of you. But do they all really work? No. May claim the world but we wouldn’t be the ones to ask you to take a risk with your health at all. There are masks that genuinely include a lot of new tech and construction methods as well as materials to offer the best possible protection from airborne virus. We pick some of the best face mask options that you can buy right now to give yourself the best chance of protection against the Coronavirus, or COVID, and some of these are specially designed to negate the threat of COVID. These do cost a fair bit more than those basic masks, but that is just the price for giving yourself the best chance to stay healthy.
Nirvana Being Airific 2.0: The thing is, most masks filter down to 0.3-micron particle sizes. The Airific 2.0 masks, however, have an advantage. They are certified to filter out particles as small as 100 nanometers (0.1 micron) with a 99.7% filtration efficiency. The Coronavirus, or COVID particles, are around 0.125 microns or 125 nanometers in size. The Nirvana Being Airific 2.0 Anti-Pollution Mask has electro-spun nanofibers forming web-like structures infused with antibacterial additives that are designed to filter out particles smaller than most other masks can. It is also the density and volume that matter—each mask holds over 25km of nanofiber in an area less than 1mm thick. The rest of the construction includes cotton, linen, hemp and flax materials. These masks are washable, can work for up to 200 hours depending on the pollution around you and are available in five different sizes. These washable and reusable masks are priced at Rs 995. And if you buy the kids masks, they are available for a lesser price tag and in the Marvel and Disney collection too.
Atlanta Healthcare Cambridge Mask Viral Safe N95: These N95 masks, developed by the UK based Cambridge Mask Co., are available with one valve These masks use military-grade filtration technology and protect you from dust, fuel-based contaminants, particulate matter, infectious pathogens, virus, bacteria, mold and spores as well as pollen. These masks have a life of 90 hours and are washable as well. The technology includes the activated carbon filter layer that is developed by the UK’s Ministry of Defense and is designed to adsorb gaseous molecules. Available in small, medium, large and XL sizes, which you should pick depending on your body weight and face structure. The ear loops are adjustable, which really adds to the comfort aspect. These washable and reusable masks are priced at around Rs 799.
Breathe Easy KARBON: The Breathe Easy Karbon face masks have a self-sanitizing inner layer and have been rated at a filtration capacity of more than 95%, which means the Karbon mask has higher efficiency than most N95 masks. The Karbon masks have two layers made of patented fiber that has been sourced from the Europe and the US and has been designed using a non-melt blown technique. This means that the Karbon face masks are washable, up to 50 washes. The Karbon mask has been rated to last more than 6 months, something that cannot be said for many other N95 masks. The two layers include the layer that touches your face, which the company claims are extremely soft. The inner layer of the mask is self-sanitizing and is made of high-grade yarn fabric that kills the virus on contact. The way the bio-yarn works is that there are chains of molecules with anti-microbial properties grafted into the fabric. It is this fabric that kills virus, bacteria and captures airborne pollutants. These washable and reusable masks are priced at around Rs 799.
What should you look for in a mask?
You would have come across the ratings for masks—N95, N99 and so on. The recent addition are masks that look like surgical masks and also cloth masks. Mind you, the basic or simpler ones that are available in most stores will not do much to protect you against pollution or indeed COVID. It is as good as tearing off a piece of cloth from a t-shirt and wrapping it around your face. It will not do much. The more serious masks meant for high levels of air filtration include multiple layers, including a primary layer that catches the larger particles, another set of layers for smaller particles (sometimes multiple) and even activated carbon.
G1 Wondermask: Made by a Jaipur-based startup Nanomatrix Material, this mask also claims to be a corona-killer. This is one of the rare mask options that integrates graphene silver nanoparticles that is basically microscopic sharp blades complete with electric charges, that are designed to destroy viral and bacterial cells. This is a multi-layer mask, and it can also be washed up to 30 times. The ear loops also have adjusters, something that will be handy to improve the fit when you wear the mask. These washable and reusable masks are priced at Rs 299 onwards with multiple pack options available.
Van Heusen Mask with the G99+ Antiviral: Van Heusen Mask with the G99+ antiviral is manufactured using inStem’s Germicidal fabric technology which reduces more than 90% of the SARS-CoV-2 virus infectivity in 5 minutes and as much as 99.99% of the virus infectivity in 15 minutes. They say that when the virus comes in contact with the fabric, the treatment reduces the viral load of SARS-CoV-2. This has been tested under lab conditions following the modified ISO 18184 protocols. These masks can be washed up to 30 times. The G-Fab technology is developed by inStem, the Institute for Stem Cell Science and Regenerative Medicine, an autonomous institute of the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India. These washable and reusable masks are priced at around Rs 399 for a pack of two masks.
Guardwiser N99 mask: The Guardwiser multi-layer mask has an N99 filter that sits between an outer fabric layer that is coated with a Virus Protection Technology (VPT) and a soft breathable fabric near your face. The N99 rating makes it one of the strong contenders, because a lot of the masks in this price range are not N99. The N99 rating means that the mask has been tested to filter out 99% of the airborne particles greater than 2.5 microns. The other highlights of the mask include ear loop adjustment mechanism and the fact that this can be washed once per week and the VPT fabric will be able to protect you for a period of six months. This reusable mask is priced at around Rs 999.