By now, we’re all used to wearing masks everywhere we go. At this point, they’ve basically become a fashion statement or a way to express yourself. There are Hocus Pocus masks for those who love the Sanderson sisters, and even masks that are designed to look like your own face. Heck, even kids are getting catered to with Crayola’s reusable masks for heading back to school safely.

However, as the pandemic continues across the country, we’re all looking for ways to stay even safer. The introduction face masks with valves or vents have recently made their way into the world. However, while it sounds like something that can offer a lot of protection, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently advised against wearing these.

“The purpose of masks is to keep respiratory droplets from reaching others to aid with source control,” the CDC explains. “Masks with one-way valves or vents allow exhaled air to be expelled out through holes in the material. This can allow exhaled respiratory droplets to reach others and potentially spread the COVID-19 virus.”

The CDC added in clear words that it “does not recommend using masks if they have an exhalation valve or vent.”

This goes to show that simply placing just anything over your face might not be as effective as other masks. So when choosing your mask, it’s important to pick one that covers your nose and mouth securely.

“Although there is some feeling that any type of mask is better than none, it’s really not that helpful when one isn’t wearing a mask correctly or wearing one that is ineffective, and may not even realize it. These recent guidelines from the CDC are helpful in helping people choose masks,” said Dr. John Whyte, the chief medical officer of WebMD.

So how do you know if the mask is going to offer full protection against spreading coronavirus? “The key for protection is a good seal — thereby keeping as many infectious particles that we can from affecting other people,’ Dr. Whyte said. “Sometimes that seal makes our glasses foggy or causes humidity.”

With the vent or valved mask, you may be protected wearing them, but you’re not helping protect others in case you’re carrying the virus yourself. “The problem with the valves is that although the prevent particles from coming in, they allow particles to come out — defeating the purpose of infection control,” Dr. Whyte said. ”Masks with vent decrease the effectiveness of the seal.”

What kind of mask do you choose to wear when going out in public?