As the fight against coronavirus continues, with many countries now making facemasks mandatory, including Victoria, Australia, experts have warned that not all facial coverings protect both the wearer and those around them from the virus.
With so many variants of reusable masks available on the market, the ability to know what is best for you and your family is certainly not the easiest thing in the world to figure out!
Today, we are particularly blogging about face masks with valves; there has been much conjecture about valves on face masks, their effectiveness, and whether or not they are actually a good idea.
From the outset, let’s make it clear: EVERY MaskPac facemask is valve free.
Recently, multiple international airlines have amended their mask policies to prohibit face coverings with valves.
“Any mask with an exhaust valve is not approved as an acceptable face mask for customers travelling on any Delta operated flight,” the airline announced last week, with United Airlines and JetBlue sharing similar announcements.
On Wednesday, Alaska Airlines also updated its mask policy, listing “face coverings with direct exhaust valves” under its “unacceptable face coverings” section.
In April, San Francisco and multiple other counties in California announced that face masks with valves do not comply with the law requiring individuals to wear masks, an amendment also expressed in Denver, Colorado.
The increasingly common ban on masks with valves comes as researchers have learned more about how the coronavirus spreads, and the risk that the valves pose.
Why are face masks with valves not recommended for protection against the coronavirus?
Many online medical sites and publications, including Mayo Clinic, advise that these types of masks do not protect others from coronavirus. The valves on these masks have one-way operation, which allows unfiltered air to be released when the wearer exhales when wearing their mask. This means the wearer can spread the virus as easily as not wearing a mask.
“It defeats the purpose,” Kai Singbartl, a medical doctor who is the chair for infection prevention and control at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona, told USAToday. “They are unfiltered, those valves are the path of least resistance so to speak, it’s easier to exhale and get rid of the heat and moisture.”
In addition to getting rid of heat and moisture, the valves also allow wearers to exhale “viral droplets and particles,” Dr Singbartl said.
Victorian Chief Medical Officer, Professor Brett Sutton, advised that masks with valves should not be worn during his announcement that face masks had become mandatory in Victoria in mid July, 2020. Professor Sutton’s Twitter account made it very clear what he thought about valves on face masks. “What’s the story with masks with valves? Well, they shouldn’t be used for COVID protection. It allows the wearer to breathe out more easily and stops moisture build-up, but the problem is that it allows you to breathe out virus if you’re infected. So, although it might protect *you*, it won’t properly protect others if you are infected. So please, no valves on masks for COVID-19. Thanks!”
According to the CDC, coronavirus is thought to spread “mainly from person to person, mainly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.”
Considering those who have coronavirus but are asymptomatic can still spread the virus, it is important to wear a mask that protects both the wearer and others.
“The purpose of masks is to keep respiratory droplets from reaching others to aid with source control,” the CDC reiterates on its website. “Masks with one-way valves or vents allow exhaled air to be expelled out through holes in the material. This can allow exhaled respiratory droplets to reach others and potentially spread the Covid-19 virus.
“Therefore, CDC does not recommend using masks or if they have an exhalation valve or vent.”
Very interestingly, the CDC goes further with its recommendations, stating that hospitals should not use N95 disposable face masks with valves either.
“Respirators with exhalation valves should not be used in situations where a sterile field must be maintained (e.g., during an invasive procedure in an operating or procedure room) because the exhalation valve allows unfiltered exhaled air to escape into the sterile field,” the health organisation explains.
So how can I make sure I’m getting facemasks that meet all of these different guidelines?
Whilst it may seem daunting (I mean, let’s be serious, 2020, in general, is daunting, and so is life in general really), the best way to meet the guidelines is to remember one simple rule.
DON’T. BUY. FACEMASKS. WITH. VALVES.
Now, once you have followed that guideline, this is where MaskPac can help!
As we said at the start, none of our facemasks have valves.
On top of that, we can offer you a whole host of other benefits:
- Australian made facemasks help support the Australian economy, giving people jobs, and helping us in what is the worst economic crisis almost all of us will ever experience in our lives;
- The outer layer of MaskPac fitted face masks includes an antimicrobial treatment that is bluesign approved and Standard 100 by OKEO-TEX, and is also water repellent;
- Our washable and reusable face mask filters give you another layer of protection. This filter will fit both our pleated and fitted face masks. The filter is a 140gsm, needle punched polyethylene medium that has excellent filtration benefits; and,
- EVERY MaskPac face mask is shipped around Australia for FREE!!
Our full range of facemasks can be found at our online store. Every mask is shipped within 24 hours of being received, and we are also having a mega sale on our pleated face masks at the moment! Every pleated mask is available for an incredible $9.95 inc gst each – shipped with a washable filter, and with free freight!!
If you have any questions at all about our range, our you would like to know more about our reusable face masks, please do not hesitate to contact us and our sales team will respond just as soon as we possibly can.