The World experienced an outbreak of the swine flu at the end of the previous decade. The concern of everyone was about how to reduce the spread of the virus. As the identification of the virus was not done, so according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vaccine availability was limited. Manufacturers were yet to start producing the annual vaccine. So, people began doing precautions to stay safe from the viral virus. To stop the transmission of the virus, people started wearing surgical masks. This practice was never seen in the past.
People are now again using surgical face masks to save themselves from the recent spread of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Face masks are in use as a prudent way of protecting themselves and others from the virus that is causing the disease COVID-19.
But the question is, does wearing a face mask prevent the spread of viruses like COVID19.
Let’s have a look at the recommendations by the experts about; How masks are an effective way of avoiding viral viruses? And what is the proper way of using masks?
What do the Experts say?
According to the CDC in the case of coronavirus COVID-19:
“CDC does not recommend that people who are well wearing a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. You should only wear a mask if a healthcare professional recommends it. A facemask should be under use by people who have COVID-19 and are showing coronavirus symptoms. The use of the mask is to protect others from the risk of getting infected. The use of facemasks also is crucial for health workers and other people who are taking care of someone infected with COVID-19 in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).”
Experts also recommend the patients who show signs of respiratory infections to use masks. The use of the face mask is a must in this case until they isolate themselves.
If someone got a virus is around people, he/she should wear a mask to protect others. People attending or visiting sick should also use for precautions.
Studies show Masks may help in some cases
Recent studies suggest that wearing face masks is effective at preventing the spread of viruses. Masks help people to limit the spreading of small droplets containing the virus. Overall, researchers found face masks help in more than three times a reduction in virus spread. It prevents the viruses that people sprayed into the air.
Another research on school children in Japan shows the effectiveness of using face masks. Vaccination and covering face with mask reduced the likelihood of developing seasonal influenza. Observations tell that flu rates were lower with the combination of masks with proper hand hygiene.
Regular handwashing always remains the primary essential tool in preventing the spread of viruses.
Different types of masks
If you’re considering wearing a mask to protect yourself against infections, there are three types you should know about.
Surgical Face Masks
Surgical face masks are relatively loose-fitting, disposable masks. They are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use as medical devices. They are often in use by Doctors, Dentists, and Nurses while treating their patients.
Surgical masks prevent various droplets that may contain viruses or other germs from escaping via the nose and mouth. They help you protect from the splashes from others, such as from sneezes and coughs. You can buy these masks from local medical stores. But they are not much effective enough to filter out all the viruses.
For that purpose, experts recommend unique masks with a fine mesh that can capture tiny organisms. You should also know how to wear a mask to get the right use of it. Mask also enables you to protect yourself from getting airborne virus particles, from a cough or sneeze, into your eyes. These masks can help against the transmission of viruses like coronavirus to some extent.
Reusable Breathing Masks
These are the allergy masks that you can regularly use while traveling or anywhere. These reusable face masks can be folded neatly into a pocket or handbag. They can help to prevent you from inhaling airborne irritants while you are at home or away from home. The masks are available in different colors and materials. Select from silk, cotton, polyester, polyester fleece lined with silk.
These washable masks are convenient and cost-effective but not effective enough to filter out viruses. They last longer than disposable masks but you can’t say that wearing a reusable mask protects you from Coronavirus. You can buy reusable and washable face masks from The Shoppies.
Respirators or N95 Masks
Respirators are to protect the user from small particles in the air, like viruses. They can filter 95% of the airborne particles; that’s why they are also known as N95 respirator masks.
N95 masks are in use by people handling toxic materials. The design of N95 respirators is to fit on your face. They form a perfect seal and left with no gaps for any airborne virus to get through. Medical staff uses them to protect themselves against airborne infectious diseases while attending patients.
Unlike regular face masks, N95 masks protect against both large and small particles in the air. These masks are much more effective in prevention as compared to regular face masks. Filters in these N95 respirators help in breathing. Still, all three types of face masks have their benefits. So, you can say that wearing aN95 Face mask protects you from Coronavirus spread to a great extent.
Guidelines for wearing Face Masks
Face masks only help to keep you protected from respiratory viruses when you use them correctly.
Follow these guidelines to wear face masks properly.
- Put on the face mask when coming within 6 feet of a sick person.
- Set of strings of the mask firmly that it covers your nose, mouth, and chin.
- Once you wear the mask, do not touch it until you are removing it.
- If you are sick, wear a face mask before going near the people.
- If you are sitting in public or waiting area, wear a face mask to protect yourself from anybody sick sitting around you.
- Never reuse a face mask, throw it away or wash the washable face masks and wash your hands.
Wear a Face Mask, or not to wear
Prevention is the best method of keeping yourself safe from these highly contagious viruses like COVID.
Along with other precautions like washing hands, face mask offers additional protection against getting affected. Experts recommend using masks only when you’re told to by a professional. Or you are showing symptoms for respiratory illnesses, including coronavirus COVID-19. It helps to protect others around you from the infection.
There is no risk in wearing a mask but benefits, except the cost of buying them. Along with wearing a mask, other precautions are also necessary. Wash your hands frequently and avoid handshakes with other. Stay indoors as much as possible and keep a distance of two meters from others when going outside.
If feeling sick, get in touch with your health consultant; stay home, stay safe!