Life A.C (after the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic) is nothing like we ever imagined it would be

Hugs and even shaking hands have become risqué and the words read my lips have become meaningless because… well …how? Having a 3 layer mask covering the bottom half of your face for most of the day is a discomfort many of us endure, while constantly looking for a comfortable way to protect ourselves.

Valve masks are becoming increasingly popular with many looking to ease their restricted breathing. However, there has been much debate about how safe these masks are and whether they should be worn at all.

Related: Does your homemade mask work? Here’s how to test it

How the valve works

COVID-19 prevention measures have seen a rise in the assortment of face masks and shields available. While some are made strictly for safety, others take into consideration the practical implications of wearing a mask all day including comfort and breathability.

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A mask with an exhalation valve is made to make breathing easier. The one-way valve allows air to leave the mask easily which means less moisture and humidity build-up for you.

The valve is a one-way filtration system and while it allows air to leave the mask freely, the air coming in through the mask is filtered.

Related:Masks are mandatory: But who will face the courts if regulations aren’t upheld?

Why you should not wear a mask with an exhalation valve

According to the Institute for Communicable Disease among other medical experts, the exhalation valve (when filtered) offers some protection to the wearer of the mask but does not filter the air exhaled.

This exposes the people around you to infectious disease and COVID-19 infection from you.

Although it may be more comfortable and in many cases, more expensive, a mask with an exhalation valve is less effective in protecting those around you from possible infection from you than the standard 3 layer cotton mask.

Related:Those face masks with breathing valves? They aren’t effective, doctors say