Sunday, May 24, 2020

Masks - Coronavirus - Review | Jill Of All Trades

The lockdown is easing out in certain states and orange/green zones, and even otherwise, we know that the near future is going to need us to wear a face (nose and mouth) mask for sometime. Hence it's only sensible to get your hands on some good one's - for yourself and your family members. We are 6 people in my family, including my kiddo, and hence I tried 3-4 different masks and thought I should write a short review about it, also include how I store it/wash it, where did I buy them from and overall what do I think of them.

FIRST of all. Wearing a mask DOES NOT make you immune to coronavirus or gives you 100% protection. So, masks are not to wear and forget all other rules like social distancing, hand washing and so on. The mask is simply supposed to give you some extra protection in crowded/enclosed spaces - so that there is a lower chance of the respiratory droplets infecting you.

SECOND of all, YOU'RE not supposed to wear the mask for prolonged periods of time. When I have to go get groceries for a fortnight, I am wearing the mask in the humid/tropical Mumbai weather for about an hour to two hours - and believe me, it's a struggle, it's really suffocating. I can feel the struggle to breathe and I know that there is less oxygen entering my body. So, masks to be worn only for short spans guys! Do not wear a mask and walk/jog/run or do anything that requires you to inhale more oxygen.

Now that we have covered this, let's get to the review. I was really afraid to buy N95 masks as I had read a lot about how they're meant for healthcare professionals and there is a certain way/protocol of wearing it. I also did not wanted to buy masks off Amazon as I was afraid of copies/duplicates.

Mask # 1
Wildcraft - SUPERMASK W95 Reusable 6-Layer Outdoor Masks

The description and brand convinced me to buy these. 6 layers with proper filters and anti-bacterial cloth and a wire to adjust mask shape at nose. When I purchased though there was only one size available, so I ordered it (L) and that is big - suitable for someone with a large face. But they now have S and M as well - so do measure your face and then buy. They're available in packs of 3,5,7 and they clearly mention the number of times recommended to use it for i.e. 30 washes or 30 times. They come in a single black colour option and are comfortable if you're ordered the right size.

Breathability - 4/5
Quality/Durability - 5/5
Fit - 3/5
Price - 4/5

Mask # 2
3M Folded Dust/Mist Respirator 9004IN Mask Pack of 2

In the beginning of the lockdown there were talks and online news of shortage of masks, PPE and face shields for the health professionals. So when launched their whole section of COVID-19 protection gear - all kinds of cloth, 3M, N95 masks, face shields, PPE, sanitisers and so on - I felt confident and happy! And they also have cloth masks for kids! I placed an order for a pack of 3 cloth masks - lot of fancy designs to choose from, a set of 2 3M masks and a pack of 2 sanitiser bottles and a set of 3 cloth masks for kids. The mask for kids has not yet arrived even after weeks, so this review does not cover that, may update later if/when they deliver.

The 3M masks look fragile in reality as compared to the pictures. They're made of really thin paper-like cloth material, but from everyone I have heard, they're quite reliable, so I got them. I love how they have 2 straps, one you wear and support with your neck and other behind your ears/head. So the grip is really study and secure. And it also has the metal bending at nose to give a more secure fit. And because of the thin material, it is really breathable and comfortable! My only issue regarding the one's I bought from is that they came in a plastic packaging, I was expecting in some 3M branded packaging or instructions on wearing/washing etc. There were none. These masks are more expensive as compared to the others.

Breathability - 5/5
Quality/Durability - 3/5
Fit - 4/5
Price - 3/5

Mask #3
2-Layer Everyday Protective Masks - Pack of 3

These are the cheapest, cost wise and have the most variety of designs available (thought they come in one adult size only - separate range for children). I found them to be smaller than what the picture looks like, and not very comfortable or breathable or protective also. Not sure, but I think it's fine for things like going down to collect parcels or groceries. This one comes with a 30 wash wearing limit as well.

Breathability - 2/5
Quality/Durability - 4/5
Fit - 3/5
Price - 5/5

After wearing, I remove the masks using the straps and wash them with detergent and Dettol and dry and store them back in my bag/cupboard. Always remember to put them on or off only holding the straps and don't touch the mask around your mouth with your bare hands.

I'm sure there are lots of more brands and varieties out there, but these are the one's I have got for my family. One-time use surgical masks are a good choice if you don't want to get into washing/cleaning of masks - but that's a lot of wastage in my opinion.

Take care, stay home as far as possible and stay safe guys!


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