My favorite analogy is comparing mask wearing to condom wearing. By wearing a condom, you are essentially protecting yourself from contracting AIDS, STD’s, and an unwanted pregnancy. On the flip side, by wearing a condom you are protecting loved ones (or the casual acquaintance) against impregnating or transmitting a deadly disease or virus.
Mask wearing is not 100% effective, but it can help prevent the nasty COVID germs from entering your system or someone else’s. Same with a condom. It is not 100% effective, but you really hope it is, and same as condoms, there are different materials and qualities. Would you trust a no-name condom from the 99cent Store, or would you rather purchase from a reputable brand and pharmacy? Similarly, masks can vary as we have seen since March 2020. There are so many choices, how do we know what material works best?
There is an effective and fun way to find out using a simple birthday candle or match test. Light the candle and hold it away from your face. Try to blow out the candle. If the candle DOES NOT blow out, then your mask is protecting you and others. If the candle blows out, then it is doing no good for you or others.
Here are some reviews using the candle trick:
Pros: Passes the candle trick; cannot blow candle out. Mostly worn in the medical world.
Cons: Extremely uncomfortable, difficult to breathe in, chafes skin, disposable.
Disposable Surgical Masks
Pros: Passes the candle trick; cannot blow candle out. Mostly worn in the medical field and the public. Somewhat comfortable and breathable. Inexpensive.
Pros: Passes the candle trick; cannot blow candle out, amazingly comfortable, soft fabric, breathable, antibacterial yarn, washable, bleachable, and reusable. Highest rated fabric for face masks.
Cons: costs a little more than the N95 and disposable masks but it is reusable (usually under $10.00) Not easy to find this fabric. www.sbrsportsinc.com
Cotton Face Masks
Pros: Comfortable, breathable, reusable, and washable.
Cons: May or may not pass the candle test depending upon thickness of cotton mask. Non bleachable, and sometimes expensive.
Pros: Easy to breathe through and reusable/washable.
Cons: Fails the candle trick therefore this style and fabric are not protecting. Gaiters are expensive, and hot around the back of neck. Gaiters are intended for warmth for snowboarders and skiers.
Pros: Easy to breathe through and reusable/washable. Fairly inexpensive.
Cons: Fails the candle trick therefore this style and fabric are not protecting.