Do I need a face mask with vents?
The easiest and most important step we as Americans can take to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus is to wear a mask. We just need to cover our faces when in public. That’s it. That’s the biggest contributing factor for squashing this global pandemic we’re all sick of (most of us figuratively, but some of us literally, unfortunately). The strict and widespread enforcement of mask policies is how numerous countries drastically reduced coronavirus infection and mortality rates, and the effectiveness of facemasks has been reported by trustworthy news outlets over and over.
And we’ll repeat it until the virus has been entirely eradicated from the planet: Wear a mask. But here’s a question many experts have yet to definitively answer: Should my mask include vents? The short but definitive answer is no. Masks with vents or valves do not help to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
What is the purpose of the vent or valve on my mask?
Masks equipped with valves allow for carbon dioxide and exhaled air to more easily exit. Essentially, a vent or a valve makes it easier to breathe out, especially if the mask is tightly fitted over the face, or if it’s being worn for extended durations. A vent or a valve can provide additional comfort to the wearer, and might be useful in construction or factory settings to block incoming particulates from harming the lungs.
But when it comes to preventing the spread of infectious disease, or “source control,” masks with vents are ineffective, since the primary purpose of a facemask is to protect others around the wearer by containing exhaled respiratory droplets. In other words, equipping your mask with a vent will negate the purpose of wearing a mask in the first place.
Now for a brief, but important tangent: This is why our hearts break when we hear about these ill-informed anti-mask movements. Refusing to wear a mask is selfish. Those who refuse to wear a mask endanger family members, essential workers, and anyone else with whom they come into contact. If you’d like to risk your own health and safety, we can’t stop you, but please understand that refusing to wear a mask also threatens the livelihood of others.
Vents are not the same as filters
The terminology can be confusing, so let’s clear up the difference between vents and filters. A vent on a mask (also known as a one-way valve) is the small, plastic device attached to the front of the mask. Vents and valves allow air to freely travel through the mask when the wearer exhales. This is bad.
A filter is a piece of cloth or other material layered into the fabric of the mask that works to contain harmful particles traveling in either direction. This is good. Masks with filters are better suited for illness prevention and protection against COVID-19.
CellBlock FCS offers a wide array of comfortable, filtered facemasks that have been thoroughly tested to capture particulates and protect the wearer from spreading or contracting harmful diseases. For more information about our masks and safety products, visit CellBlock FCS today.