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Are Exhalation Valves Good or Bad for Covid?

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.

What is a mask exhalation valve and what is its function?

face mask exhalation valve

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 or living in a hot climate.

What is the problem with mask exhalation valves and viruses?

face mask cough simulation virus

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. Similarly, some airlines do not allow face masks with exhalation valves for the same reason.

How does STYLESEAL solve the problem with exhalation valves?

styleseal exhalation valve cover

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, because it allows you to breathe more easily. Especially so if you are exercising outdoors, as this can build up a lot of heat and CO2 quickly.

However, if your purpose for wearing an air mask is to prevent the spread of viruses in the community (or if you are suffering from an active infection), it is best to avoid masks with one-way open valves. Instead, you can either choose one of our many masks with a no valve option or deactivate your valve temporarily using our exhalation valve cover kit. If you choose the second option, you can always open the valve again when you are well and not at risk of spreading illness.

How can air masks help to protect you against viruses?

covid-19 virus

Using a face mask will block most droplets from other people’s sneezes and coughs from entering your mouth and nose, according to infectious disease experts. Coronaviruses are primarily spread through droplets, but they also do spread via aerial particles.

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 to your face and won’t seal well. This means they leave gaps around the mouth, so you’re not filtering all of the air that comes in when you breathe. Also, fabric masks do not offer much protection as they can’t filter the viral particles which are very tiny in size.

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 STYLESEAL PRO with KN95 filters which block particles down to 0.1 microns. Clean your mask often, and we sure to store it in a clean bag when you’re not wearing it.

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.