4 Types of Face Masks to Protect You From Coronavirus and Flu

By The Ability Toolbox


During the flu season, and with the COVID-19 coronavirus spreading across the world, you may be wondering: can a face mask protect me from coronavirus? How about the flu? What kinds of face masks and disinfectant supplies can I buy to reduce the risk of infection?

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How Face Masks Can Help Prevent Coronavirus and Flu

According to doctors, face masks can protect you from respiratory illnesses such as COVID-19 coronavirus and flu in a few important ways.

  1. If a person is coughing or sneezing, they spray droplets containing the virus onto objects and people around them. If you come in contact with these droplets, particularly if they get into your eyes, nose, and mouth, you can become infected. By wearing a face mask, you reduce the likelihood of droplets entering your nose and mouth.
  2. If you are already infected with a respiratory virus, wearing a mask can help prevent you from transmitting the illness to others because droplets from coughing and sneezing will be retained in the mask.
  3. You can also become infected with coronavirus or flu by touching contaminated surfaces or getting droplets on your hands and then introducing the germs into your eyes, nose, and mouth. Wearing a face mask prevents you from touching your hands to your nose and mouth. Always be sure to wash your hands immediately before putting on and immediately before taking off a mask. Dispose of or wash the mask immediately, then wash your hands again before touching your face.

Which face mask should I choose to help prevent coronavirus infection?

Not all face masks are created equal! While any face covering will provide limited protection from droplets, respirator masks with the proper level of filtration are much more effective at reducing transmission of the flu and novel coronavirus.

N95 Face Masks

Medical experts are recommending that you purchase N95 face masks to protect you from coronavirus COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses such as influenza. These respirator face masks are named based on the percentage of particulates they filter from the air. An N95 mask filters 95% of particulates, while an N99 mask filters 99% of particulates.

As you might imagine, with the current coronavirus pandemic and yearly flu season, N95 masks are in high demand. We have an up-to-date listing of in stock N95 face masks below.

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Reusable Face Masks with Filters

Vogmask is a fashionable mask for immune compromised people at risk of coronavirus, flu and other infections.Reusable face masks like the Vogmask shown above are popular with people who live with chronic illness. If you are immunocompromised due to a health condition, you are at higher risk of complications from ordinary infections and the flu, let alone outbreaks such as the novel coronavirus. It’s especially important for those of us with a disability or chronic illness to purchase a reusable face mask we can wear anytime. Some of these are N95 face masks as well.

Half and Full Face Respirator Masks

For more comprehensive protection from COVID-19 coronavirus and flu, you can wear a half or full-face respirator mask.

Disposable Surgical Face Masks

While disposable surgical masks may not provide as much protection as an N95 face mask, they can still reduce your risk of catching or spreading the coronavirus by minimizing your contact with droplets and preventing you from spraying droplets onto others. They can be purchased in bulk and thrown away instead of laundered.

More Coronavirus and Flu Safety Supplies

Wearing a face mask is just one small part of protecting yourself from coronavirus and other respiratory infections. Other precautions are just as important, especially if you have a weakened immune system, disability, or chronic illness. 

Wash Your Hands

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends frequent hand washing as the best method of preventing the spread of coronavirus, flu, and other infectious diseases. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly using the guide below.

Proper hand washing along with wearing N95 face masks can help stop the spread of coronavirus, flu, and other infectious diseases.

  1. Rub palms together.
  2. Rub the back of both hands.
  3. Interlace fingers and rub hands together.
  4. Interlock fingers and rub the back of fingers of both hands.
  5. Rub thumb in a rotating manner followed by the area between index finger and thumb for both hands.
  6. Rub fingertips on palm for both hands.
  7. Rub both wrists in a rotating manner.

You should spend at least 30 to 60 seconds washing your hands. Your hands touch many surfaces and people that might carry infection, so do not cut corners on hand washing! 

In a high-risk area, it is best to maintain a 3-foot distance from others whenever possible. Avoid touching or shaking hands; you can wave, nod or bow in greeting instead, depending on what is appropriate in your culture.

Soap and Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizer is effective on the germs that cause coronavirus, but be sure to use it thoroughly. Carry travel hand sanitizer to kill viruses when you don’t have access to clean water, or if you’ve just been near someone who is coughing and sneezing. 

Disinfectants

Does Lysol kill the novel coronavirus? Science doesn’t know for certain yet, but evidence suggests it probably does. You can use Lysol sprays and Clorox disinfecting wipes for shared work and living areas to help prevent transmission of many other germs as well. 

Gloves

Disposable gloves can help prevent transmission of COVID-19 coronavirus. Be sure to remove gloves safely using the instructions below.

How to remove gloves that may have come in contact with coronavirus.

  1. With both hands gloved, grasp the outside of one glove at the top of your wrist, being careful not to touch your bare skin.
  2. Peel off this first glove, peeling away from your body and from wrist to fingertips, turning the glove inside out.
  3. Hold the glove you just removed in your gloved hand.
  4. With your ungloved hand, peel off the second glove by inserting your fingers inside the glove at the top of your wrist.

Nitrile gloves are an excellent choice for protecting yourself and others from flu and coronavirus, as they cause fewer allergic reactions than latex.

We hope this guide has been useful and that you now have additional tools to protect yourself from coronavirus and flu. We know people with disabilities and chronic illnesses are especially at risk for complications from respiratory viruses, and hope you can find N95 face masks and other supplies you need to get through the outbreak. Be safe!

4 face masks that help protect you from coronavirus and flu

The Ability Toolbox

About the author

The Ability Toolbox is a lifestyle and self-help community for people with disabilities and chronic illnesses.

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