LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: When Choosing A Face Mask You Should Know That 1 Size Does Not Fit All

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: When Choosing A Face Mask You Should Know That 1 Size Does Not Fit All

I hope this will help you when purchasing facial masks to comply with the recent order in our community.

You will face so many options to choose from and you may be feeling rushed to do something, anything not knowing what to do.

I see lot of focus on pricing. I feel there needs to be more conversations focused on what is the best facial mask option for your needs to buy and wear.

A mask is useless to you, your family, and our community if you will not wear it or you must keep removing it to breathe.

Buying the wrong mask for the wrong application will not help you.

I hope I give you some ideas and questions to think about in my questions below to use as a guide to evaluate what you are buying and for the application you plan to use it for.

Do not waste your time or money on the wrong mask you will not be happy with for reasons that could include: it doesn’t fit, it is not made well, it is not washable, it falls apart or rips quickly, is designed for one use only, uncomfortable, not what you needed, etc.

Take a moment to ask yourself before you purchase a mask:

Will you wear it for long periods of time, or daily to work for example?

Do you need it for short term single uses while planning to throw it away quickly? Is it designed to be disposable?

Is it the right size? Men’s, women’s, teens, children, or preschool are all very different sizing. One size does not fit all in this product.

When you put it on, are there gaps that eliminate the effectiveness of the mask for your contours and face shape?

Is the fabric abrasive or soft against my skin? Your skin is not used to this sudden change.

Can I breathe easily with it on? Some individuals with reduced lung capacity or breathing difficulties may not be able to handle too many layers or some styles. Practice wearing it around the house doing normal activity to see how it feels.

If you are claustrophobic, you may need to minimize interactions for when you must wear the mask if you find it is upsetting to have your nose and mouth covered. Plan prior to arrival at your face to face meeting for how you can exit quickly to a safe place to remove it for a short time until you can resume wearing it. This difficulty is a reality for some in our community and they should not be made to feel ashamed or embarrassed about it.

If it is behind the ears style will this rub my skin raw if ill fitting? If this is what I already have, should I purchase a headband or behind the head strap with buttons to take the pressure off my ears and is this method a viable option for me?

If it is tie type can I reach up to tie it myself or do I have to have help to tie it? Are the ties well-made or will they quickly shred or disintegrate?

If it is the elastic type, how is the elastic attached? Is it stapled where it can quickly tear a thin paper like fabric or sewn in for multiple use construction?

Is it pre-washed fabric, and durably made to be washed repeatedly and not fall apart if you plan to launder it often.

Do I want full facial coverage, or only over my mouth and nose?

Do I need more than one mask per person to swap out during the day or for laundry down time?

Do I want a metal nose bridge, or is it designed to insert one if I want to?

Does it need to have a filter added in a pocket, or is that an extra option I may want for refilling filters? Is it individually wrapped to minimize handling?

Where was it manufactured if that matters to you?

Facial masks may be a long-term community need. The very cheapest option in front of you today may not be the most comfortable or cost-effective option for your household for what may be a new norm for many of us.

There are a lot of studies out there you can read too on choices and the breathability of different fabric compositions.

We are an adaptable community living in the VI and this is one more adaptation we will make together.

Be blessed and I hope this was helpful information I gave you with some things to think about as you buy what is the best option for your situation and family dynamics.

—Amy Rose Herrick

(785) 224-8954

*** I am making masks on St. Croix but I did not mention that in above because I wanted to try to help people find the best option for their needs from wherever the source may be, handmade or mass produced.