Coronavirus: Do Face Masks With Filters Offer More Protection?

Tarrah Gibbons
July 19, 2020 - 12:17 pm
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    Several states across the nation are now making face masks mandatory due to recent coronavirus case spikes.

    Americans are now wondering if face masks with filters are more effective.

    Dr. Marty, a professor of infectious diseases at Florida International University, told Good Morning America that any face mask would protect you, but the filters could add an extra layer of protection.

    "But if you add that filter, then you're also adding a really good protection for yourself," Dr. Marty said.

    Filters can be another layer that can be found underneath a mask. Experts say it can either be pre-sewn onto a face mask or inserted via a pocket.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that it has no formal recommendations on the use of filters in homemade face coverings.

    Data from the CDC says that items such as paper towels or coffee filters may be helpful in the "filtration of particles." If you live in a humid climate, this can make these items less productive and make it harder to breathe.

    If you are making a mask, you should avoid furnace filters. These can be made of cotton, fiberglass, polyester, or HEPA vacuum bag filters. However, they may have microscopic glass particles, which can potentially cause severe lung damage.

    What kind of mask should I wear?

    Dr. Monica Gandhi, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, said that full masks protect you. She emphasized how cloth masks or surgical masks all filter out the majority of air particles.

    What makes a good mask?

    Dr. Marty said the best mask that you can have is one that has three layers. So you have an inner layer, a filter layer, and an outer layer. However, Dr. Gandi added that you have to be comfortable when wearing one.

    "Comfort is the name of the game," Gandi added. "You want it to be actually fitting."

    How often should I change or clean my filters?

    Gandi recommends washing the filter out every night.

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