Which mask should you wear?
Since the novel coronavirus first hit the United States, there's been confusion about which masks people should wear to protect themselves. The one you need depends on the level of protection you want. No mask is 100% effective in preventing infection, but all face coverings offer more protection than no mask at all. Click the arrow to see which is best for you.
N-95 masks, which can block 95% of tiny particles, offer the most protection against the coronavirus. It's made of synthetic fibers tightly woven together, which make it harder for particles to get in. To be effective, it must be worn tightly against your face.
N-95 mask with valves protect you, but not others from the virus. They can be reused if they are stored properly.
Medical masks can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus by catching droplets when you sneeze or cough. They are made from a paperlink fabric that can expand to fit your face. It is designed to be used once, then thrown away.
Face shields can partially protect you from the coronavirus if someone coughs or sneezes nearby. They can also can help prevent droplets from getting into your eyes. But to fully protect yourself, you should also wear a mask that covers your mouth. With the face shield alone, your mouth and nose are still exposed, posing a risk to you and others.
Reusable fabric masks are also good at preventing COVID-19 spread. A good one will allow limited light through the cloth. The most comfortable masks are 100% cotton, and double thickness adds another layer of protection. Some even have slits where you can slide in a filter to add a third layer. Make sure you wash these regularly.