Face Masks are Mandatory Again
This past week, the Palm Beach County Commission made face mask wearing mandatory due to the increased number of coronavirus cases since easing of restrictions began 8 weeks ago. Just so you know, we hate wearing face masks too, but we do think it is extremely important to wear them to protect our clients and our staff. We have worn masks for this reason since we re-opened on May 11th. For most of us, wearing a face mask for casual activities is not too difficult other than dealing with the mask pulling down off our nose or muffling our speech. Exercise is an entirely different activity with a different set of demands. We wanted to review several different types of masks available now so you can make the best decision for yourself on what to wear depending on the situation.
Casual Face Masks
There are a number of masks that you are probably familiar with that fall into this category. These masks are appropriate for shopping, going to appointments, social gatherings and any situation that won’t result in sweating. Pleated surgical masks and N95/KN95 respirators fall into this category. They are relatively inexpensive with pleated surgical masks selling for $1-$3 each and N95/KN95 respirators selling for $5-6 each. While both of these can be worn for exercise, their main drawback is that they don’t handle moisture well. Water, saliva, and sweat will break these masks down quickly and require replacement. They can’t be washed to clean them, although we have been using our Homesoap device to sterilize our masks with ultraviolet light. The pleated surgical mask does not form a seal around the nose/mouth and acts primarily as a barrier. The N95 mask forms a seal to the face, which can make it more difficult to breathe during exertion. The N95 is more protective of these two.
Face Masks That May Be Useful for Exercise
At the time of this writing, several of the major athletic apparel companies have started to develop and produce face masks that would appear to be beneficial for exercise. Major benefits to these types of masks are they are washable and reusable, form to the face better, and they are unlikely to come off your ears thanks to elastic earloops.
Adidas Face Mask: Adidas has a fabric face mask, which their website shows a 93% satisfaction rating. The masks come as a 3-Pack for $16. It looks good, reportedly feels good, functions as a barrier but does not contain a filter to block viruses. Made with soft, breathable fabric the adidas Face Cover is comfortable, washable and reusable for practicing healthy habits every day. This cover is not a medically graded mask nor a Personal Protective Equipment but can help prevent the spread of viruses and germs through droplet transmission. They are currently available for purchase.
Puma Face Mask: Puma also has a 3-layer fabric face mask. There are limited reviews on their website. They sell a 2-pack of the masks for $12. It comes with the Puma logo and the words “Stronger Together”.
Under Armour Mask: Under Armour will have a mask available in mid-August. It is the most expensive of these 3 at $30, however it does look to be extremely durable and well designed. Their website states it is a non-medical & non-surgical mask and does not protect against viruses. It’s 3-layer system meets the WHO recommendation for fabric masks.
Local Face Mask Producers
Here in Jupiter, Florida we have found two companies that make face masks. Both companies make swimwear products and recently added face masks to their product lines. You will notice that their masks are made of fabric used to make swimwear.
CCFitwear/CCSwimwear Inc – We have several of their masks in our office. If you get the right size, they fit very comfortably. They come with an optional headband that can be used to secure the face mask to your face, which helps reduce pressure on your ears from the earloops. They also have a pocket built in to them so you can insert a filter for greater protection. These are fabric masks. Without a filter they provide a barrier only and do not block viruses (similar to the face masks from the big companies). All in all, we like these masks and they are very nice people.
Shebop Beach – We don’t have personal experience with their masks but they appear to fall under the fabric mask classification. They look comfortable and come in several traditional and beachy colors. They also make a very interesting face mask with an entryway to use a straw, preferably non-plastic, for drinking. Perhaps if people bought more of these, local bars and nightclubs would have been able to stay open (though probably not).
Face Masks are Fun!
There are a number of facemasks out there that are just plain fun to wear. They provide mostly a barrier and are not intended to be used as medical masks. If you’d like to read their mask warnings and disclaimers you can find it here. They are washable and come with elastic earloops. The price of a mask is $12.49 but goes down with purchase of 4 or more. My biggest concern is that the masks come in only in one size, regular. I can assure you that my regular size is not the same as Amy or Betsy’s regular size. With this understood, however, the best part is that they come with what appears to be an endless number of creative designs. We’ve pictured a few of our favorites below but encourage you to visit the redbubble website to find your favorite. Oh, did I forget to mention that I play poker??!!
Face Masks of the Future??!!
There is no telling what the future holds for the production of face masks. Covid-19 is going to be with us for many more months and maybe one of these options is for you.
Touch of Modern: Touch of Modern is a website that sells a variety of products, typically for a short duration of time. Although this one already finished it’s sale, I have to believe that it will eventually make a return. This is one of the more intriguing mask options to me because it appears to offer the most protection (like the N95) and breathability (unlike the N95). The mask is made of silicone and secures to the head with two silicone ear loops. It comes with a replaceable 4 Stage HEPA H-13 carbon filter and a built-in 2 speed ultra quiet micro-motor USB rechargeable fan. We didn’t get our hands on one of these, but this could possibly make exercise with a mask much more bearable. Speech may be hard to hear in these masks. These masks were selling for $130 discounted to $100 during the sale.
Civility Mask: The Civility is a prototype mask being developed in France. It is very stylish and features a transparent screen so you can still see someones face. Like the Touch of Modern mask, it also has two built in electric fans, replaceable filters, and secures snugly to the face with an airtight fit. They are currently in the crowdfunding stage but expect to have masks available in September 2020. They are expected to cost $168.00 US dollars. This mask looks cool. Not sure if speech is muffled or not, this may be an issue. If it lives up to the design, I’d love to have one of these.