How To Know If Your 3 Ply Mask Is Genuine?
Face masks combined with other preventive measures, such as frequent thorough handwash and social distancing helps to slow the spread of the coronavirus disease.
Owing to this pandemic, the 3 ply mask has become the most sought-after commodity, with many buying what they can get their hands on. However, with the shortage of face masks globally, there are now many fake masks circulating around, which may look the same but would not protect you.
So, how would you know if the surgical mask you have bought is real or fake?
Here are a few simple tests you can do at home to identify.
1. Visual Test
Cut open your mask and there would be obvious 3-layers visible if it is a 3 ply mask. The 3 layers that you would be able to see are an outer hydrophobic non-woven layer (translucent), middle melt-blown layer (white-colored), and an inner soft absorbent non-woven layer (usually of green, blue, or white color).
However, a 2 ply mask would typically have those two layers with that melt-blown white layer missing so these face masks are useless against haze, germs, viruses, and bacteria. They are made from fabric or non-woven material which is also disposable.
2. Non-flammability Test
If you light your mask with a flame, the middle layer of the 3 ply surgical mask would melt and not burn like paper as it is made of melt-blown fabric.
In case your face mask catches fire, then it is certainly not a proper and genuine 3 ply mask.
3. Light Transmission Test
If you find that the surgical face mask’s middle layer is too porous, it is not a real one.
As the middle layer of the mask traps bacteria from entering or exiting, it should be a little thick and not completely porous.
4. Electrostatic Adsorption Test
There is an electrostatic effect in the melt-blown middle layer of a genuine 3 ply mask. If you try tearing the melt-blown layer into strips, you will feel the considerable electrostatic adsorption effect which you can also adsorb on stainless steel due to its substantial amount of electric charge.
5. Water-resistant Test
The outer-most layer of the 3 ply surgical mask is designed to be waterproof. So, if you pour water onto the layer, you should be able to see that the mask repels water completely.
However, the outer layer of a fake 3 ply mask would get damp instantly.
6. Absorbency Test
The innermost layer of the 3 ply mask is designed to absorb moisture such as sweat, saliva, mucus, and sneeze droplets. This ensures that when you sneeze, the mask will be able to contain the droplets so that it does not get smeared on your face.
In case your mask’s inner layer is not water-absorbent, then it is a fake one.
7. Breath Test
A 3 ply surgical mask is typically designed with a middle melt-blown layer that acts as a filter to contain droplets by electrostatically adsorbing them on the surface so that it cannot infiltrate the inner layer of the mask and infect you. However, the inner layer is made so as to absorb water, sweat, mucus, and saliva of the wearer.
This design of the layer will ensure that you can extinguish a fire easily with your breath (while wearing the mask).
Tips on using the surgical face mask
When fitting a surgical mask, make sure to take certain precautions:
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or use alcohol-based
- Remove the mask from the packaging box and make sure there are no tears or holes.
- Determine the front side of the mask. Generally, the side with the information printed on the mask by the manufacturer should be displayed on the outside. In case there is no specific indication on the mask, go for putting the most padded side to your face.
- Now put it to your face by holding it only by the ties. Make sure you put the mask with its side out having the strip up at the nose.
- Next, position the upper ties on the top of the head and the lower ties at the neck level so that the mask is properly unfolded.
- The mask should cover your nose and mouth completely. Place it in such a way that the mask is tightly fitted crushing against your face.
- Once the face mask is in place, don’t touch it. In case you need to reposition it, make sure to sanitize your hands beforehand.
- As the surgical mask is single-use, it should be disposed of in an appropriate manner immediately after you remove it.
- A surgical mask should be changed regularly, at least every three-four hours, or before if it has been soiled.
- Wash your hands before and after each mask change.
Stay safe, stay healthy!