COVID-19: What are my facemasks and how I use it

I could say that 2020 is the “Year of the Facemask” because with the start of the year we were unexpectedly rocked by the Taal Volcano explosion, so technically even before the COVID-19 pandemic reached the country by March, chances are we were already wearing one.

Personally, I’m not a fan of facemask before. I really do not prefer to wear one. Only until the pandemic began that I realize the importance of this invention. I usually visit people from the hospital without wearing one and that’s one of the biggest mistake i’ve made in my life.

With the rising numbers of COVID-19 in the country, we should really be prepared to know which facemasks suit our needs and I made a list of the facemasks I use depending on the situation.

Surgical Facemask

Before the pandemic, this is one of the cheapest protection that you can buy. It costs less than 10 pesos before but now it reaches to a point where you have to buy 28 pesos per piece! A huge price increase thanks to COVID-19!

A surgical mask is sometimes known to be N88. Which means that it’s 88% effective in filtering air. It’s one of the most comfortable to wear too because you can slightly breathe using this mask.

I usually wear this kind of mask when going outside to do some quick chores. Meaning if I’ll be out and about for less than 30 minutes, I’ll be using this one because it’s disposable and cheaper anyway.

KN95 / N95 Mask – NO VALVE

If I need to go outside for more than an hour and at least 12 hours, this is my preferred mask of choice. It’s slightly harder to breathe but there is a sense of safety because it’s effective rate is 95%.

I would also prefer to use this one because we wouldn’t know when will be the next volcanic explosion so this mask does its job in protecting my lungs from the harmful effects of an ashfall.

Also if you’re asking which one would you buy between a KN95 or N95 mask they are technically both the same as KN95 is made from China and the N95 is made in the U.S.

Also i would like to note that these masks do comes with a VALVE option. But most of the hospitals doesn’t prefer it because it still expose other people from getting infected because of the valve. So if chances are you are visiting a hospital, wearing a no valve mask is the best option.

Half Face Respirator

This is the ultimate mask in my mask arsenal disposal. If you’re doing field work and you’ll be staying for more than 12 hours outside, I would certainly prefer this mask because of the valve. I know it’s ironic that I’m wearing a mask with a valve but before I do, I always ensure that I have completed my 14-days quarantine.

It’s easier to breathe on this one and usually the filters lasts for more than a month. You’ll just have to ensure to disinfect every corner of the mask to ensure it’s safe to use.

It’s one of the hardest masks to wear because you need to conduct positive and negative pressure. Technically, before stepping outside of your safezone, you have to ensure that it’s working as expected. Otherwise, you should always have a backup KN95/N95 just in case your respirator has been damaged.

How about Washable Masks?

I’m not a big fan of these kinds of masks mainly because they are not medical grade, meaning most of our frontliners are not using it. But if you can’t afford a mask, you can still choose this but just like the respirator, you have to ensure that for each time you’ll be wearing one, it should be cleaned and disinfected or in this case “washed”.

NOTE: Facemasks are effective. But always ensure that you do not touch your Eyes, Mouth and Nose! Always have an alcohol that you can use just in you have touched any infected surface. And as much as possible, always wash your hand and maintain social distancing.

That’s it. I hope this helps you in deciding which mask is right for you!