It is a well-recognized fact that wearing masks that filter the air you breathe is one way of keeping yourself protected against COVID, or Coronavirus. Yet, there is still some confusion about which masks work, which don’t and why exactly. It all started when the World Health Organization (WHO) in the early days of the COVID spread around the world, dithered and remained unsure about the recommendations. For the longest time, they said masks don’t protect us against COVID. Then they said wearing masks is essential to stay protected from COVID. Along the way, it became as essential as fashionable to wear masks. And we now have multiple masks available. The N95 masks, surgical masks, cloth masks, sponge masks, activated carbon masks and others. However, not all are the same when it comes to protecting you against viruses, including the Coronavirus.
Within this bunch of masks, the N95 masks are the most effective in general with regards to filtering the air out before you breathe it. They have the maximum protection against dust, particles, bacteria, pollution, pollen and virus. Something that held it in good stead in the not too recent past when we struggled with extremely high pollution levels in our cities, and indeed in cities around the world. In July, the Director General of Health Services (DGHS) said that N95 masks with valves are detrimental to the fight against COVID. These masks have the one-way valve, either a single valve or a double valve depending on what you pick, which protects the wearer against the airborne virus, but they let back out the particles which means the virus can be airborne again.
Yet it would be absolutely incorrect to say that all N95 masks are bad. Not many people may have noticed, but you can also buy N95 masks without valves. Which means top-notch protection for you, as much as masks can provide, and not put people around you at risk. “N95 respirators are designed to protect against particulate matter such as dust, fumes, mists, aerosols, and smoke particulates. It is also effective against biological particles such as pollen, mold spores, bacteria, viruses, animal dander and allergens. An N95 respirator is particularly effective against aerosolized droplets that are invisible to the naked eye,” says the California Department of Public Health.
Indian environmental tech company Nirvana Being has a made-in-India solution for this exact conundrum. The company has a range of Airific N95 Anti-Viral Mask which are certified to filter out particles as small as 100 nanometers (0.1 micron) with a 99.7% filtration efficiency. For this, the mask uses nanotechnology that can filter particles as small as 0.1 micron when most rival masks can filter out particles up to 0.3 micron in size, but not even smaller. Coronavirus, or COVID particles, are around 0.125 microns or 125 nanometers in size. For this, the company uses electro-spun nanofibers infused with antibacterial additives that are designed to filter out particles smaller than most other masks can. It is also the density and volume that matter—each mask holds over 25km of nanofiber in an area less than 1mm thick. The rest of the construction includes cotton, linen, hemp and flax materials. The Airific N95 Anti-Viral Mask range is made in India while the nanotech filter layer is imported.
The Airific N95 Anti-Viral Mask are washable and reusable, as long as you follow the correct washing guidelines. Nirvana Being sells the Airific N95 Anti-Viral Mask for Rs 995 each and is available in as many as 14 style statements, and are available in small, medium, medium+ and large sizes, depending on body weight and face measurements.
There is a rather helpful size guide that Nirvana Being has for the Airific N95 Anti-Viral Mask range, unlike a lot of other mask companies that simply write “free size”, which may not always fit everyone well. You can choose the mask size for the corresponding body weight range, for it to fit your face better. This is quite light and very comfortable to wear. In fact, unlike many other masks, this also doesn’t leave any crease lines on your skin if you wear this for a long enough duration either. While these masks can be washed following the instructions that come as standard in every box, I do preferred to sterilize these in a UV-C sterilizer regularly—it is an option if you have one of these at home.
The thing is, you really don’t need an N95 mask with a valve to protect yourself against COVID. The valve came in handy for the heavily polluted days because they allowed for somewhat free-er breathing in case someone was out running, jogging or training while wearing the mask. It is not necessary at this time, and you should instead look for the protection of an N95 without any valves, during this Coronavirus pandemic. The Nirvana Being Airific N95 Anti-Viral Mask is perhaps packing in the slickest technology to provide you the protection that a lot of other masks that are otherwise designed to protect you against pollution in the normal world scenarios, just cannot. This is worth your money.