What is COVID-19?
- COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which can be severe and even fatal, particularly for the elderly and certain at-risk groups. COVID-19 stands for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (after the year of its discovery). The World Health Organisation has classed the widespread outbreak of this infection as a pandemic and global public health emergency.
How do masks work to help stop the spread of coronavirus?
- Small droplets emitted from the nose and mouth when people talk, cough or sneeze are the main confirmed source of transmission of COVID-19. Face coverings, particularly those with multiple layers, are not chemically antiviral but act as a barrier to prevent droplets from spreading between people and causing infection. Face masks are therefore also effective for stopping the spread of other viruses such as the flu.
How effective are face masks?
- A recent study conducted by the University of Oxford (July 2020) found that cloth face coverings are an effective form of virus protection for both the wearer and those around them. Data from microbiologists at Hong Kong University (May 2020) suggests that face masks actually work to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by 75%.
What is the best type of face mask?
- Medical-grade surgical face masks and N95 masks are most effective at reducing the transmission of COVID-19, but these are generally reserved for medical professionals and essential workers who are at a higher risk of infection. In terms of face coverings recommended for everyday use to protect the general population, the World Health Organisation recommends using a cloth face covering with several layers of fabric - all Okoco face masks have at least two layers of fabric, and most of our styles come with a nose clip and filter pocket for extra security.
What is the UK government’s recommendation in terms of face masks?
- The UK government recommends using face coverings which cover the nose and mouth to limit the spread of coronavirus in the community. In England, it is legally required for those over the age of 10 to wear a face mask when using public transport and in indoor spaces including supermarkets, community centres and busy workplaces. (As the situation is rapidly evolving and laws vary by region, we recommend checking with your local government for the most up-to-date advice.)
What guidelines does Okoco follow?
- Our face masks have been designed and created based on the recommendations of several national and international organisations. Our flat-fold face masks have been designed according to the AFNOR Specification S76-001 and its European equivalent, the CWA 17553:2020 – Community face coverings. We also aim to follow the guidelines set by the World Health Organisation and the UK government in the creation of all our masks.
What is AFNOR?
- AFNOR is the French Standardization Body which has worked with the European Commission to create minimum requirements for the design, production and performance of barrier masks to ensure a consistent degree of safety in community face coverings. Okoco’s reusable flat-fold face masks have been created in line with these guidelines.
Are Okoco face masks PPE?
- Our masks are not medical-grade Personal Protective Equipment and should not be used for medical purposes. They are suitable and intended for use within the wider community.
How should I use my face mask?
- You should wash your hands before and after touching the mask, and handle it by the ear loops or ribbons. Wear it so that it covers your nose and mouth at all times. Mould the clip to the shape of your nose but do not touch the main front part of the mask. Ensure the ear loops are adjusted for a snug but comfortable fit. Wash your mask regularly and change it if it becomes damp.
How else can I stay safe during the pandemic?
- As well as using a face covering in public spaces, make sure you follow social distancing guidelines and group size restrictions, and wash or sanitise your hands regularly. It is best to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. You should self-isolate if you have any symptoms of the coronavirus or have been in contact with someone who has symptoms. It’s also important not to forget about your mental health - stay in touch with friends and family virtually, indulge in some self-care and take it easy. Seek professional guidance if you have questions and concerns, and if the effects of the pandemic are taking a serious toll on your physical or mental health. (As the situation is rapidly evolving and advice varies by region, we recommend checking your local government or health practice website for the most up-to-date advice.)
How should I care for my Okoco face mask?
- Follow the washing and ironing instructions specified for your model. If your mask includes a nose clip, always remove it via the small gap in the seam at the edge of the mask before washing, and do not iron elastic components.
What is the best face mask for men?
- Here at Okoco, most of our models are unisex, and with three mask styles available, we are sure you can find your perfect fit. From the start, our goal has been to create a wide range of great-looking, versatile face masks and make these available for everyone. If you don’t know where to start, take a look at our Traditional Japanese Art geometric pattern fabrics, Liberty London Prints, and Plain Organic Cotton range - these classic options are especially popular and make lovely gifts for men!
What is sustainability and why is it important?
- Sustainability means avoiding the unnecessary depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance. We are facing a climate emergency, and the popularity of single-use products also means that huge amounts of plastic and other waste are polluting our planet and threatening wildlife. In terms of face masks, sustainability means avoiding pollutant synthetic fibres, energy-intensive mass production, and sourcing natural fabrics whose production has not involved harmful chemical pesticides and fertilisers. By choosing a reusable face mask, you are helping the planet by reducing waste, pollution, and the excessive use of energy which is required to produce new disposable face masks every day. At Okoco, we respect the environment, using certified organic cotton in our masks and investing in biodegradable, non-synthetic materials produced in Europe where possible. As well as being eco-friendly, this makes our masks cool on the skin and more breathable, minimising the risk of dry skin, irritation and acne often caused by sweaty cheap textiles - it’s a win-win situation!
Where are Okoco masks made?
- All of our products are designed and handmade in London.
What is GOTS organic certification?
- Most of our masks are lined with GOTS certified organic cotton. The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is recognised as the world's leading processing standard for textiles made from organic fibres. It defines high-level environmental criteria along the entire organic textiles supply chain and requires compliance with social criteria.
What is Oeko-Tex Standardisation?
- Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certifies that a fabric has been tested for harmful substances during its production, providing quality assurance that it is safe to have near your skin.