How do masks work?
Any face mask you wear is like a net for your face. This net helps keep bad things in (to protect others from you), and also keeps bad things out (to protect yourself from others).
N95 respirator are used in a number of applications to block different types of particles (for example, during fire season, this style of mask is recommended to prevent you from inhaling smoke in the air).
No Fit = Germs in your mouth
We’ve all seen data that helps people decide what material their mask should be made of based on how well they ‘filter’ particles. That’s analogous to how big the holes in your net are. But if you’re holding the net far away from your face, it doesn’t matter if you have tiny holes in your net, you’re still going to have gunk come in on the sides.
Similarly, a loose-fitting mask can’t protect the wearer if they inhale air that goes around the mask material instead of through the mask material. Wearing a loose mask will not fully protect you or your neighbors if particles can leak out the sides*. This is why a well-fitted mask is critical.
The Industry Knows This
This is why N95s are the gold standard. This is why they come in so many sizes. Professionals who need to wear N95 respirators are even required to do an annual fit test to confirm their masks fit well enough to provide adequate protection. The worse that a mask fits, the more unfiltered air the wearer is inhaling. You deserve a fitted mask solution too.