COVID-19 ResourcesTo help tackle these unprecedented times, Dialogue has developed content to keep you, your family and your organization safe. Visit dialogue.co/covid-19 to learn more.
Why is Dialogue offering disposable masks vs. reusable cloth ones?
Dialogue is committed to offering supplies and equipment that most effectively prevents the spread of COVID-19, while ensuring that front line medical workers have access to the most protective equipment. The disposable masks that you can purchase through Dialogue are FDA certified and are made to filter airborne particles, isolate droplets, and saliva.
Cloth, or other fabric reusable masks may not offer the degree of consistent performance as disposable masks, are unregulated and make no performance claims. Reusable masks may not be effective in blocking virus particles that may be transmitted by coughing, sneezing or certain medical procedures. They do not provide complete protection from virus particles because of a potential loose fit and the materials used.
When should I replace my disposable mask?
The best rule of thumb is to change your mask when it is “moist”. This may occur after talking for an extended time, heavy breathing / coughing, or after being around others who are coughing. Periodically inspect masks for visible tears or signs of degradation.
When and where should I wear a mask?
Face masks, combined with other preventive measures, such as frequent hand-washing and social distancing, help slow the spread of the disease. It can be useful for short periods of time, when physical distancing is not possible in public settings, such as when grocery shopping or using public transit. Follow all recommendations by Public Health in your community please as these are subject to change.
I have the opportunity to buy reusable masks, what should I do?
Dialogue employees can choose whichever masks they chose. If you are choosing to wear a reusable mask, we suggest looking for masks with the following criteria:
Non-medical face masks or face coverings should:
- allow for easy breathing
- fit securely to the head with ties or ear loops
- maintain their shape after washing and drying
- be changed as soon as possible if damp or dirty
- be comfortable and not require frequent adjustment
- be made of at least 2 layers of tightly woven material fabric (such as cotton or linen)
- be large enough to completely and comfortably cover the nose and mouth without gaping
- Some masks also include a pocket to accommodate a paper towel or disposable coffee filter, for increased benefit.
Non-medical masks or face coverings should not:
- be shared with others
- impair vision or interfere with tasks
- be placed on children under the age of 2 years
- be made of plastic or other non-breathable materials
- be secured with tape or other inappropriate materials
- be made exclusively of materials that easily fall apart, such as tissues
- be placed on anyone unable to remove them without assistance or anyone who has trouble breathing
- Homemade masks are not medical devices and are not regulated like medical masks and respirators.
Their use poses a number of limitations:
- they have not been tested to recognized standards
- the fabrics are not the same as used in surgical masks or respirators
- the edges are not designed to form a seal around the nose and mouth
- they may not provide complete protection against virus-sized particles
- they can be difficult to breathe through and can prevent you from getting the required amount of oxygen needed by your body
I keep hearing about KN95 masks and N95 masks - What is the difference?
Both masks are nearly equivalent - the major difference is in certification and technical details.
N95 masks are certified in the USA and KN95 for other markets.
“Bottom line: N95s and KN95s are both rated to capture 95% of particles, although only KN95 masks are required to pass fit tests. N95 masks have slightly stronger requirements for breathability.”
- According to mask manufacturer 3M, “it is reasonable to consider” China’s KN95s “equivalent” to US N95s. Mask standards for Europe (FFP2), Australia (P2), Korea (KMOEL), and Japan (DS) are also highly similar.
IMPORTANT in case you have an N95 mask that’s been given to you and it has an exhalation valve: You’re not protecting anyone from you! Valves allow humidity to escape and permit you to breathe out more comfortably, but this bypasses the filter. Whereas when you breathe in, you’d be protected.
Tips for Wearing Masks:
Before putting on the mask, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or rub your hands together thoroughly with alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Check for defects in the face mask, such as tears or broken loops.
- Position the colored side of the mask outward.
- If present, make sure the metallic strip is at the top of the mask and positioned against the bridge of your nose.
- If the mask has:
- Ear loops: Hold the mask by both ear loops and place one loop over each ear.
- Ties: Hold the mask by the upper strings. Tie the upper strings in a secure bow near the crown of your head. Tie the bottom strings securely in a bow near the nape of your neck.
- Dual elastic bands: Pull the top band over your head and position it against the crown of your head. Pull the bottom band over your head and position it against the nape of your neck.
- Mold the bendable metallic upper strip to the shape of your nose by pinching and pressing down on it with your fingers.
- Pull the bottom of the mask over your mouth and chin.
- Be sure the mask fits snugly.
- Don’t touch the mask once in position.
- If the mask gets soiled or damp, replace it with a new one.
Dialogue has developed an FAQ for COVID-19. This FAQ gathers dozens of questions related to COVID-19. Check back often as the content is updated regularly.