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

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. Learn more.

 

1. Handmade Fashionable Face Masks

Fashionable face mask, handmade with awareness images

In response to severe shortages, 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.

Buy face masks from a disabled designer: ChronicallyBrave, SpoonieSisterShop, or OhanaforEmily, 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!

 

2. Mask Club — Stylish Face Masks

MaskClub mask pack featuring DC superheroes.

MaskClub is an awesome new website for people who love fun and fashionable face coverings. They specialize in officially licensed masks from TV, movies, and cartoons. They have masks featuring superheroes including Batman and Wonder Woman, Star Trek, Harry Potter, and so many more. You can even support your favorite candidate with 2020 election masks. They sell both child and adult sizes, too.

Right now, you can get 20% off Mask Packs — 5 different coordinating character or theme masks so you can have one for each day of the school or work week!

Buy fabulous face masks from MaskClub.

 

3. Masks Up! Respirator Masks

Masks Up reusable respirator mask filters 94% of particles from the air.

Masks Up offers high-quality face masks that have been tested and proven to filter 94% of airborne particles when properly fitted. That’s almost as powerful as an N95 respirator, yet these masks can be washed and reused 60 times. If you’re immunocompromised or otherwise at high risk and looking for something comparable to a Vogmask or Cambridge mask, both of which have been unavailable for months, Masks Up products are a worthy replacement. Be aware, their products do contain latex, a somewhat common allergen for people with spina bifida and certain other health conditions. They are available in child and adult sizes.

Buy a reusable respirator mask from Masks Up.

 

4. 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.

 

5. 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.

Jackson explains, “I work as a home care aide and need to be extremely cautious and safe. I’ve had a hard time finding N95 masks but I got a few and I’ve been reusing them. If someone you care for is at high risk, these are the best choice.”

Find respirator masks in stock here on Pandemic Pal.

 

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. SubZero Masks

Buy a Latina woman wearing a Sub Zero face mask that says "Protect Each Other" in the corner.

SubZero makes fashionable cotton face masks, many of which have simple yet classy designs, such as a solid black mask with a small rainbow or heart in the corner. They have a few fun and silly face covers too. They have adjustable earloops, which is great for people who have difficulty with fitting their face coverings. They offer an optional filtered version for extra protection.

Buy a SubZero Mask.

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 (link coming soon).

More Masks

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

Vogmask

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

The Vogmask is a 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 are popular with people who live with immunodeficiency and are regarded as being more comfortable than other types of masks.

JJ recommended the Vogmask for people with a disability or chronic condition. “Although they may be sold out right now, 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.”

Unfortunately, Vogmasks have been mostly sold out for months, so we’ve moved them to this section. You can find them on Amazon occasionally, so try the link below if you really want one.

Buy a Vogmask from Amazon.

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!”

Like Vogmasks, 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.

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. Please note: According to the latest research, neck gaiters and bandanas may not be as effective as cotton masks, and in some cases may actually increase your risk of infection. So although we are still listing them here, you should choose another kind of face covering if possible!

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.

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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