11 Fashionable Face Masks People With Chronic Illness and Disability Recommend

Fashionable face masks provide protection while enabling the wearer to express their personality. Many people wear face masks to help prevent the transmission of bacteria and viruses. For those with a chronic illness or disability, wearing a face mask can be especially important for safety.

If you have a suppressed or weakened immune system due to your chronic illness or medication, it may make you at high risk of contracting an infectious disease. Catching a cold or the flu when you have a chronic illness can make your existing symptoms worse or cause a flare-up. If you’re a caregiver or family member, you might wear a mask to help prevent yourself from spreading illness to your loved one who is immunocompromised.


Types of Masks

There are two main types of masks, face masks and respirators. It’s important to understand the similarities and differences between them to choose the right mask for your needs.

Face Masks

Face masks cover the nose and mouth. They are designed to be a barrier against droplets of fluid, such as coughs or sneezes, that may contain viruses. Some face masks are disposable while others can be washed and reused. Many artisans sew handmade, fashionable face masks that are low cost and come in many designs, sizes, and patterns.

Non-medical face masks may not fully eliminate the spread of airborne contaminants, because they are looser-fitting and do not seal completely. However, studies show they significantly reduce the risk of infection and illness.


Respirators help protect people from contracting contagious diseases by filtering infectious particles from the air. Respirators are designed to form a perfect seal around the face and are therefore considered more effective than face masks for preventing the spread of viruses. Respirators are approved by governmental bodies, such as the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in the United States, and they are required to meet certain standards. For example, N95 masks are so named because they filter out 95% of airborne particles.

Respirators are are an essential form of personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical professionals caring for patients with contagious illnesses. Some are made for single use, while others are reusable and use filters or cartridges that must be replaced periodically. It’s important to make sure any respirator masks you purchase are legitimate, as counterfeits are common due to shortages.

Deciding whether to use a face mask or respirator depends on your health, the people you may come into contact with and the rate of airborne or droplet-transmitted infection in your area. Whatever kind of mask you choose, make sure you’re putting it on and taking it off properly.

Many people with a chronic illness or disability are immunocompromised and wear face masks and respirators even when there’s not a pandemic. When wearing a mask is an everyday need, style matters too! Here are some brands and types of useful and stylish masks our community recommends to lower your risk of getting sick or getting others sick.

Masks We Recommend

Disclaimer: Pandemic Pal does not sell the products listed below, we are simply providing a service to make them easier to find. As we cannot guarantee the quality or effectiveness of any specific product or vendor, we make no claims that any items listed on our site will mitigate, prevent, treat, diagnose or cure any disease or health condition. This page contains affiliate links, which means if you choose to make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

1. Not the Most Fashionable but Definitely the Most Effective: N95 Respirator

N95 respirator mask for immunocompromised people and their caregivers.

N95 respirators are used by doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals when caring for people with highly contagious diseases such as the flu. A respirator with the N95 rating provides at least 95 percent filtration of particles, including respiratory droplets that contain viruses. It is best to use a disposable particulate respirator without an exhalation valve to protect others from any illnesses you may be carrying. If you are immunocompromised, these are the most effective masks to keep you safe from infection, especially with Delta, Omicron, and other variants in the mix. These are not the most stylish masks, but you can buy a flat-fold style for a better profile that doesn’t resemble a cup stuck to your face.

Jackson explains, “I work as a home care aide and need to be extremely cautious and safe. I am vaccinated but one of my clients had a kidney transplant and takes immune suppressing medication. I don’t want her to develop an Omicron breakthrough infection! If someone you care for is at high risk, these are the best choice.”

We recommend Protectly for genuine respirators with fast, reliable shipping:

N95 mask for sale at Protectly

You can also find more respirator masks in stock here on Pandemic Pal.


2. Protective and Stylish KN95 Mask or KF94 Mask

If you are looking for more stylish mask options, check out KN95 and KF94 masks, which provide similar protection to an N95 mask but come in stylish colors and patterns. These fashionable respirators use ear loops instead of headbands, which many people prefer as they find them more comfortable. We especially recommend KF94 masks that are made in Korea as they have better quality control and reliability. Here are just a few of the many cute face masks available.

3. Handmade Fashionable Face Masks

Fashionable face mask, handmade with awareness images

In response to severe shortages early in the pandemic, many people have been sewing stylish face masks at home and offering them for sale on Etsy. You can find fashionable face masks with filter pockets, made with a variety of materials, and in every pattern imaginable. Even better, you can choose to support members of the disability and chronic illness community who are making masks. Please note that these masks are NOT medical grade and you should buy N95 masks (above) to protect from Omicron and/or if you are at high risk of severe symptoms.

Buy face masks from a disabled designer: Spoon Culture Shop, MascMasks, or browse more masks on Etsy.

Are you a person with a chronic illness or disability who is making face masks? We want to promote your products. Apply to be featured — it’s free!


4. Vogmask Reusable Respirator Masks

Vogmask, fashionable face mask with honeybee pattern designed for immunocompromised patients.

The Vogmask is a reusable filtering respirator designed to be worn by anyone in need of protection from infectious diseases, pollution, smoke during forest fires, and more. They can filter out up to 99 percent of airborne particles, and come in many fashionable colors and fun patterns. They have been popular with people who live with immunodeficiency since long before the pandemic and are regarded by the chronic illness community as being more comfortable than other types of masks. They are available without a vent or with a vent cover so you can protect those around you.

JJ recommended the Vogmask for people with a disability or chronic condition. “Vogmasks are designed for immunocompromised people who needed masks before the virus outbreak and will still need them when it’s over. They are really comfortable and with the head strap they actually stay in place.”

Buy a Vogmask from Amazon.


5. Disposable Surgical Masks

Disposable surgical mask

Hospital surgical face masks are disposable and inexpensive. They contain a bendable piece of metal or plastic that molds the top of the mask to fit around your nose and face. High quality surgical masks are 3-ply — they are made with three layers of material to filter respiratory droplets. Many immunocompromised people prefer disposable masks because they are easy to use and can simply be thrown away when they become damp inside. You can buy them in larger quantities to provide to your home health aides and others who may need to visit your home.

Lisbeth said, “I’ve been buying disposable medical masks for my personal care attendants for years. I have a compromised immune system and even a cold can put me in the hospital, so you can imagine how careful I have to be now!”

Buy disposable face masks from Etsy or Amazon.

6. Breathe Healthy

Breathe Healthy antimicrobial mask.

Breathe Healthy face masks are made with an antimicrobial agent that kills germs and lasts through many washings. They are designed to protect against dust, pollen, allergens, and the flu. They are stylish and come in many fun colors and patterns.

Carina says, “I have immunodeficiency because of my rheumatoid arthritis medications. I wear a Breathe Healthy facemask during flu season and I haven’t gotten sick in 2 years.”

Buy Breathe Healthy face masks from Amazon.


7. Clear Mask for Deaf Accessibility

Stylish face mask with clear mouth area for Deaf and hearing impaired people and sign language interpreters.

While wearing face masks in public is now essential, it has created an accessibility barrier for people who are Deaf or hard-of-hearing and rely on lip reading and facial expressions. If you have a hearing loss or work as a sign language interpreter with the Deaf community, a mask with a clear vinyl window over the mouth can improve communication. Once again, people sewing at home have stepped up to address the shortage of these desperately needed masks and created many stylish options to choose from.

We now have an entire article about these masks you can read to learn more and see more options! Check it out here: Clear Face Masks. Or buy a clear window mask on Etsy.


8. Disability-Friendly Mask

Mask with velcro strap for ease of use with a disability.

If you have a disability that affects hand dexterity or strength, a standard mask may be difficult to put on. This adaptive, disability friendly mask uses a stretchy elastic head strap with Velcro fastener and is designed to be used by people with limited mobility and seniors.

Liliana said, “I have hand weakness because of muscular dystrophy. This is the only mask I can put on and take off by myself.”

Buy an adapted mask on Etsy.


9. Spring Seaon

Spring Seaon stylish face mask, green with flowers

Spring Seaon offers fashionable face masks in a variety of patterns and colors. They can be washed and reused, and come with a filter pocket and disposable activated carbon filters. The elastic straps are adjustable, as is the nose piece.

Amy recommended these. “Spring Seaon! I have 3. They’re cheap and comfortable. They have a pocket for a filter.”

Buy a Spring Seaon face mask from Amazon.

10. Bandanas and Neck Gaiters

Neck gaiter, tie dye purple with text Immunocompromised

Many people find it harder to breathe while wearing a mask, especially if they have reduced lung capacity due to asthma or other chronic lung conditions. Some people find wearing a regular face mask triggers their anxiety or PTSD. If you’re struggling with traditional masks, you can wear a fashionable bandana or neck gaiter to protect yourself and others from infectious illnesses in a less restrictive way.

Olivia Jayne said, “I’m autistic and masks cause sensory issues for me, so I prefer a long, loose neck gaiter that gives me room to move and breathe.”

Buy a neck gaiter from a disabled designer: AmbersDesignsCo or TwoMoonMonkeys, or browse more neck gaiters on Etsy.

11. Giftgowns Masks

Giftgowns makes revolutionary hospital gowns that look good and are still easy to use. They’ve become a great resource for the chronic illness community and anyone else who finds themselves in the hospital often. Now they are making face masks, too! So give this deserving company your support.

Buy a mask from Giftgowns.


More Masks

These are masks we like, but they may be sold out, or have some caveat to consider before deciding to purchase.

Cambridge Mask
Cambridge mask in teal.

Cambridge masks can filter nearly 100% of harmful airborne pathogens such as viruses and bacteria. They’re great for allergy season, too. Like Vogmasks, they are washable and reusable, and come in many patterns and colors.

Linda recommended Cambridge masks. “They’re some of the most fashionable face masks out there, but most importantly, they work!”

Cambridge masks have been mostly sold out. But again, you can keep trying the link and one may pop up from a private seller.

Buy a Cambridge mask from Amazon.

Neoprene Face Mask
Neoprene face mask

A neoprene respirator provides all-purpose protection and can filter up to 99.9% of particulates and dust. They are often used by bicycle riders and people doing outdoor work such as construction and landscaping. Although the valves make it easier to breathe, these masks should not be used within 6 feet of other people during a virus outbreak, as they will not protect people from you if you are infected.

Buy a neoprene mask from Amazon.


Are you a person with a chronic illness or disability who is making face masks? We want to promote your products. Apply to be featured — it’s free!

11 fashionable face masks people with a chronic illness or disability recommend to stay safe from infection.Face masks recommended by people with a chronic illness or disability to protect yourself from virus infection while looking fashionable. Rock your spoonie style with these face coverings.

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