As a precaution to guard against the spreading of COVID-19, also known as CoV-2, it is advised that those who are sick and have respiratory symptoms like a cough or a runny nose wear face masks.

For example, the Ministry of Health has advised that normal face mask for kids may be more appropriate for the general public to use, as opposed to N95 masks.

Which is better, the N95 or surgical mask?

The N95 mask has been positioned as a superior mask with less filter penetration of virus particles and face-seal leaks while allowing less inward leak of environmental particles.

Although the N95 mask theoretically offers better protection than a surgical mask, several studies conducted amongst healthcare workers show that they may not offer superior protection to a simple face mask online India against acute transmissible respiratory infections (such as the influenza virus which is transmitted by droplet spread, similar to the COVID-19) in a clinical setting.

How successful are face masks for children?

An effective face mask seal requires moulding of the top of the mask over the nasal bridge, and the bottom of the mask pulled down over the chin. Masks are not effective once they are wet or soiled.

When it comes to children, attempting to have your toddler or young child keep a face mask on can be a challenging task, so it’s important to remember 2 important factors when choosing a face mask for them – fit and comfort.

A crying toddler who is uncomfortable and struggling is not likely to have an effective mask. An uncomfortable child is also more prone to grab and touch their face more, making the spread of infection through mucosal surfaces more likely.

Face masks, especially the N95, may not be suitable for infants and younger children

Masks are generally not suitable for infants and younger toddlers below the age of 3. When masks are worn, they increase the resistance against breathing, coupled with an increase in the levels of carbon dioxide in the dead space contained behind the mask. This may result in hypoventilation in infants and children below the age of 3 (who have smaller lung capacities) and poorer clearance of carbon dioxide. This accumulation of higher levels of carbon dioxide can be dangerous.

Most of the available N95 masks currently available in the markets are appropriate for an adult fit and may be more suitable for children above the age of 12.

For children aged 7 – 12, a study on specialised paediatric N95 masks showed that these could be used safely during routine physical activities such as reading in class, walking to school, or catching a bus, without significantly compromising a child’s ability to breathe. However, there are few suitable brands on the market which cater to this age group. Safety of the kids face mask online for younger children has not been evaluated and is not recommended.

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Can older children use face masks?
Some older children may benefit from the use of Khadi face mask. Older children who are more susceptible to infections and their complications, such as those with chronic respiratory conditions, significant heart disease, progressive neurological conditions, or are immunosuppressed, should wear face masks to protect themselves.