Have you ever wondered which face mask provides the best protection for international travel? You are not alone.
As a person who is immunocompromised, I am afraid of flying during the Covid-19 pandemic. A few weeks ago, I took the plunge and flew across the country for our youngest son’s graduation from college. Flying nationally is actually scarier than flying internationally as we no longer have any federal regulation about mask-wearing in the United States.
Despite my fear, we headed out. Better yet, I managed the entire trip without getting sick. I credit these two masks for making my trip a safer one.
Best Mask for Air Travel
When I mentioned to a friend that we were embarking on our first plane trip since the onset of Covid-19, she immediately told me that I needed to wear a comfortable mask on the airplane. And I agreed. My experience with most N-95s has been anything but comfortable.
Maybe it’s because I have glasses and few N-95 masks sit nicely on my nose. Also, the elastic straps of most N-95 masks pull on my hair. And make the tops of my ears sore from the constant rubbing of the elastic strap on bare skin. You get my drift. Very few N-95s have been designed for comfort.
However, it is important to use an N-95 when forced to sit for long periods of time in an enclosed space with limited air circulation. In other words, while sitting in an airplane cabin, especially before and after take-off. That’s when many airlines do not use their air circulation systems.
My friend recommended using a duck-billed mask. My husband went to the internet to find the best deal and we purchased this product, the Jackson Safety N95 Mask which has been approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
I was surprised to find that the straps were made of a soft, stretchy material that is much kinder to my hair and the tops of my ears. The flexible nose band also fits the bridge of my nose better than most traditional N-95s. Additionally, the duckbill shape adds space for my breathe to exist. I felt less claustrophobic and didn’t feel like I was constantly smelling the interior of a mask.
Another selling point for us is that these masks are made in the United States.
In short, I highly recommend this mask or another that is very similar, the Kimberly-Clark Professional N95 Pouch Respirator, also available on Amazon.
Best Mask for Daily Wear
Even I find a duck-billed mask overkill for every day where. I prefer a mask that has loops that go over my ears rather than behind my head. So, if I’m not sitting in a single location like that airplane cabin, I opt for the PureMSK.
We have been using these for months since my oldest son first recommended them. He has to wear a mask while at work and found these to be the most comfortable, full-day option.
PureMSKs use N95 technology. However, they are not certified by NIOSH. We believe that certification is lacking because NIOSH requires straps that go behind the head, a design that supposedly pulls the mask more tightly to the face.
Pure-MSKs are lightweight, comfortable to wear and come in two sizes, small and large. The small mask almost fits my face – it would be perfect for petite-sized adults and for big kids. It also comes in two colors. I prefer white while my husband prefers black. That also helps us avoid mixing up our masks!
Have a better “best face mask” to recommend?
If you have a mask that you prefer and would like to recommend, let us know! Technology is constantly changing and adapting. We will be happy to try out a new version so that we can honestly say we’re using the best face mask for travel!