Face Mask Exhalation Valves and Covid-19
What is an exhalation valve and what does it do?
An exhalation valve is a one-way vent installed on higher end face masks and respirators. Its function is to allow easier breathing, prevent humidity and reduce uncomfortable heat and CO2 (carbon dioxide) buildup inside the mask. A face mask with an exhaust valve will feel more comfortable and less hot than a mask without a valve. The CO2 in the exhaled air is nearly 100 times that of inhaled air, and this can increase even further during strenuous activity. This means having an exhalation valve is especially important when you are exercising.
What is the problem with exhalation valves and viruses?Face masks with exhaust vents help to protect the wearer against infections, because viral particles cannot get in through the one-way valve.
However, having a valve might pose problems for others if the wearer is already infected, as the valve allows unfiltered air to be released when the wearer exhales. This means the wearer could still spread the virus even while using a face mask. For this reason, some authorities recommend not using face masks with exhalation valves for the purpose of preventing the spread of viruses in the community.
How do StyleSEAL Air Masks solve the problem with exhalation valves?
We understand that air masks can be used for different purposes. If your purpose is to protect yourself from air pollution, a mask with an exhalation valve is preferable. Especially so if you are exercising outdoors, as this can build up a lot of heat and CO2 quickly. However, if your purpose of wearing an air mask is to prevent the spread of viruses in the community, it is best to avoid masks with one-way open valves. Instead, you can either choose one of our many mask with a no valve option, or deactivate your valve temporarily using our ValveSEAL Sticker Kit.
How can air masks help to protect you against viruses?
Be sure to use a mask that fits and seals well. Because surgical masks and others are one-size-fits-all they typically aren’t fitted or sealed. This means they leave gaps around the mouth, so you’re not filtering all of the air that comes in when you breathe. Also, be sure to not touch your face under the mask, and avoid taking it off when talking or making a phone call. For best protection, choose our StyleSEAL 95S-Red or 99S-Purple filters, which blocks particles down to 0.1 microns and are treated with a nano-silver coating that kills bacteria and viruses.
Be aware that no mask can guarantee 100% protection against infections. While all masks cover your face, they don't all give you the same level of protection. Choose wisely and select a mask that protects both you and the people around you. We recommend everyone follows safe hygiene practices.