Need a face mask? We're here to help. We've found where to buy face masks right now in the US, UK and Australia. Guidelines for the wearing of face masks to try and slow the spread of COVID-19 varies in different areas right now, but increasingly they're being recommended in public places and areas where it's difficult to socially distance effectively. The overall result is that face masks are suddenly majorly in demand.
If you decide you want to wear a face mask, read on for a variety of buying options, including reusable, non-medical face masks for general use, and some medical-grade masks if you're working in a healthcare capacity. Some brands are offering free, speedy delivery and there's a full range of designs to choose from.
Medical masks, including surgical and N95 masks, are in extremely short supply around the world right now. When it comes to the stock that is available, priority goes to healthcare workers. Instead of a medical face mask, people are being encouraged to use non-medical fabric face coverings, which is what we've mainly focused on in this roundup.
Fit is all-important. The mask needs to fit snugly around your nose and face, or its effectiveness goes right down.
The wearing of face masks is geared more towards keeping others healthy than protecting yourself. If someone with COVID-19 wears a face mask, this could prevent them from accidentally infecting other people – which is all the more important because a significant number of people with coronavirus are asymptomatic, so are unlikely to be actively self-isolating.
The reason there's a lack of consensus regarding whether you should be wearing a face mask is because as of yet, we don't have strong evidence suggesting it will make a positive impact. Some experts fear that recommending masks could have a knock-on effect of making people less disciplined about social distancing rules. There's also no getting away from the fact that there's a massive shortage of face masks, and encouraging everyone to wear one could reduce availability for the medical professionals and healthcare workers who need it most.
In a hurry? Here's our top picks for where to buy a face mask. Click to browse, or read on for more details of different options, information on if you need to wear a mask, and buying advice.