The Dirty Truth About Face Masks

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The CDC recommends that people wear masks in public settings, at events and gatherings, and anywhere they will be around other people. While face masks help to both protect you and safeguard others from the spread of COVID-19, they have been seen as a hassle by some and a common subject of debate over the last year. One important thing to keep in mind is that face masks need to be handled properly and washed regularly or they can end up contributing to the spread of disease. 

The Science

When you breath in and out while wearing a mask, a build up of coliform bacteria will naturally form. While most types of coliform bacteria are harmless to humans, some can cause mild illnesses and a few can lead to serious waterborne diseases. According to the Cleveland Clinic, patients have been recently reporting sore throats after wearing a mask for prolonged periods. This cause can be viruses, bacteria or environmental irritants present on the fibers of the face mask that are then inhaled. 

Face Mask Recommendations

Just like washing your hands, washing your mask should be part of the daily routine. Face masks should be washed with warm soap and water and let dry completely Here are some helpful mask cleaning tips from the CDC. 

It is also recommended that you try to limit the number of times that you touch or remove your mask and wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer after touching or removing your mask. And of course, we should all also be replacing our masks from time to time. 

Another consideration for manufacturers is treating the face mask fabric and components with an antimicrobial treatment during the manufacturing process. This will help ensure that potentially harmful, odor-causing bacteria does not build up on the fabric. SiShield has a product exclusively for textile applications that can be used to treat both the inside and outside of face masks of all types. Contact us for more information.


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