How to identify real and fake surgical masks

With the worldwide outbreak of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19), experts recommend that everyone gets protected by surgical masks or simple cloth masks when going out in public.

However, this pandemic caused a shortage in the supply of personal protective equipment, and there are lots of fake items in the markets. So now people cannot find real masks due to the fake masks, dust masks, or fashion masks that are not effective against the spread of the virus.

So how to make sure that mask that bought are real or not ?.

Fake mask or a real mask

How the real surgical masks are build ?

Proper surgical masks consist of three layers,

The outer layer is a translucent piece (top) made of hydrophobic non-woven fabric. Its main function is to repel liquids like blood and body fluids.

The second layer is white and made of a melt-blown material. The middle layer is the most important because it works as a filter against germs in big droplets and splashes.

The third layer (internal layer) absorbs moister to limit the spread of germs exhaled by the wearer.

How to identify real and fake surgical masks ?

Dust masks(2 ply masks), however only have two layers and lack the critical middle layer. So, all you need to do is to cut the mask you have and check that it contains all of the three layers. Then, you can make sure the mask is 3-ply.

You can also test the waterproof function of the outer layer(The water test). A properly made surgical mask will not let small amounts of liquid-like splashes from sneezes in.

You can try out this quality by spilling a small amount of water into the outer layer. A real mask will hold the water while with a fake mask, the water will leak through. Which causes the inner layer to get wet.

Next, you can test the middle layer. If you want to perform all these tests on one mask, We suggest that you leave this test last. because this step consists of lighting up your mask on fire.

Cut your mask and break the three layers apart. Now with a lighter, burn the middle layer. The second layer is supposed to be made of a melt-blown material that melts and crumbles under fire. So, if your middle layer starts burning and catching up the fire, it is fake.

The last test is very simple. The breath test, it aims to check for the mask's ability to retain liquids when you sneeze. Put on your mask and try blowing up a flame while wearing it. If you find it hard to put out the flame, the mask is real.

Make sure you wear your surgical or homemade mask correctly. If it is a reusable mask, clean it after each use. This will help to protect you and others from viruses and bacterias. If you are not following this simple thing properly, you or others cannot get protection even if you are wearing real masks.

Written by: sara6anfal