By J.D. Williams
It seems that every year there is an outbreak of a new, deadly virus in the news. Whether it is SARS, Ebola, West Nile, H1N1, bacterial meningitis, Zika or something else, there is no shortage of infectious illnesses to be concerned about, with more on the way. Many of the airborne illnesses can be filtered with something as simple as a disposable NIOSH-approved N95 facemask that uses layers of fiber to filter out contaminants. While this is a great option for most environments, what do you do when you’re wearing one and need a drink? The people at Smart Mask answer that question with their DrinkThru Mask.
The DrinkThru Mask is a standard N95 mask used for filtering airborne particles, bacteria, dust, pollen and other respiratory threats. The inspector’s approval of the mask is printed right on the surface, so you know that the mask was deemed safe for use. It has the usual features, including elastic straps for easy wearing, and metal strips for fitting around the bridge of the nose. The construction of the mask is sturdy and is of good quality. It fits comfortably, however you might have some problems getting a good seal if you have a beard or a thick mustache.
The standout feature is a valve in the center of the mask specifically for accommodating a straw. A plastic hatch in front can be opened to reveal a segmented opening, suitable for inserting a straw. You’ll need two hands to open the hatch; it’s sealed just tightly enough that it can’t be opened with one hand without pulling the mask away from your face. When opening the hatch, one hand needs to hold your mask in place while the other pulls the hatch open. The user’s manual recommends only a one-time use for each mask, and only opening the drinking hatch eight times or less.
Smart Mask’s DrinkThru Mask is a convenient, disposable mask that also allows you to drink through a straw. It works well and does what it was designed to do. This is a nifty new option for your air filtration needs and would be a worthy replacement for a standard facemask.