What is a Personalised Face Mask?

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Face masks have been in the news a lot recently as people weigh the expert advice from different sources worldwide To what extent can wearing a medically certified mask help to prevent the spread of infectious diseases among the general public?

In this article we’ll provide a basic overview of the latest advice, looking at the claims which are made for masks being of genuine benefit – as well as the important qualifications that come attached to any such claim.

How Might Wearing a Mask Help Stop Contagion?

Personalised face masks. African American business woman wearing medical face mask and talking on phone.

It’s claimed that certified masks can help in the following ways:

  1. By stopping moisture droplets being expelled from the mouth and nose of the (infected) wearer.

  2. By catching moisture droplets which are expelled by other infected people, so that the droplets are kept away from the (healthy) wearer’s face.

  3. By filtering out tiny “aerosolised” particles which are exhaled and can remain airborne for longer than the larger, heavier droplets.

  4. By preventing the wearer from touching their face after their hands have been contaminated.

Let’s look at these claims in a bit more detail. In each case a certified face mask works as a physical barrier to contagion.

1) Barrier to Droplet Infection (If Wearer Is Infected)

Personalised face masks. Young woman wearing medical face mask in public transport.

Infectious diseases like viruses are spread by respiratory droplets. These are droplets of moisture (e.g. saliva or mucus) that either travel from person to person directly or land on a surface which is then touched by somebody who goes on to touch their face

There is a consensus view that wearing a certified face mask can prevent the wearer from spreading infection when coughing, sneezing etc. The mask fabric simply catches the droplets so that they can’t travel any further.

Remember that an individual can be infectious before they show any symptoms, so you could be protecting those around you by wearing a mask even if you feel completely well.

2) Barrier to Droplet Infection (If Wearer Is Healthy)

Personalised face masks. Man wearing respirator face mask in public.

There is some evidence that certified masks can act as a barrier against droplet infection in the other direction too.

If you are healthy and an infected person nearby sends droplets into the air by coughing or sneezing, the droplets can land in your mouth or nose or get inhaled into your lungs. Medically certified masks can be effective in preventing this from happening, which is why wearing a mask is recommended if you’re caring for somebody infected.

3) Barrier to Airborne Infection

Personalised face masks. Young woman wearing respirator face mask in public.

Some viruses are spread by minuscule particles that can linger in the air for minutes or even hours, rather than falling quickly to the ground as larger droplets do. When a disease is passed on by these particles, this is called airborne transmssion.

A regular surgical mask will have little to no effect against these aerosol particles: firstly because the mask will be too loose to prevent particles finding their way around the mask along with any air inhaled, and secondly because the particles are so tiny that they can penetrate through the mask.

Only a medical-grade respirator mask (rated N95 or above) will be of significant use in preventing airborne transmission.

4) Barrier to Face Touching

Personalised face masks. Woman with a medical mask touching her face.

Diseases are often spread when a healthy person’s hands come into contact with infected respiratory droplets and the person then touches their face. Touching the mouth and nose carries a particularly high transmission risk.

By covering up the lower part of the face, certified masks can form a barrier between the mouth/nose and hands contaminated with germs.

It’s worth noting however that these masks will leave the eyes exposed – and these also pose an infection risk if touched. Also, adjusting or removing a mask can cause hand-to-face transmission if proper hygiene isn’t observed.

Important Qualifications

Personalised face masks. Mother sanitizing hands of her son.

Only the first of these four “barrier” theories is backed up with robust evidence.

This means that if you choose to wear a certified surgical mask, the greatest benefit will likely be to others rather than to yourself.

Masks are no substitute for hand-washing and social distancing.

The evidence is overwhelming that regular, thorough handwashing and keeping a sensible distance from others (two metres is recommended to avoid droplet infection) significantly reduces the risk of disease transmission. The corresponding evidence for wearing even a certified mask is far weaker.

Choosing to wear a mask can be counterproductive if it inspires a false sense of security and leads to your hygiene and social distancing practices being relaxed.

Medically certified masks are urgently needed by frontline medical staff.

Medical staff around the globe are facing shortages of personal protective equipment, including respirators and surgical masks. WHO guidelines are very clear that the general public should not buy certified personal protection equipment, as the high demand is making these shortages worse.

My-Picture.co.uk Personalised Face Mask

DISCLAIMER: Please note that the potential benefits discussed above concern medically certified surgical masks only. My-Picture.co.uk face masks have not been scientifically tested and have no medical certification. Our face masks are not sold as personal protective equipment and we make no claims for their efficacy in disease prevention.

Personalised face masks. Personalised face masks with photo prints.

As people get more and more keen to acquire non-certified face masks (witness the current enthusiasm for sewing masks at home), My-Picture.co.uk are responding to the new demand by producing a custom face mask. Now you can buy face masks which have all the unique charm you’d expect from your favourite custom print provider.

You can choose from a range of striking colours and quirky designs, or upload your own photo as you would with our other products.

The new mask gives you the following great benefits:

Personalised face masks. Young woman wearing custom face mask.

For reasons of good hygiene, the mask should be washed at 60 degrees after each use.

If you’re looking to buy a non-certified face mask, our new product will bring some colourful personality to this usually drab personal accessory!

❗❗  Create your custom face mask here❗❗

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