Mask wearing has been strongly advised for people all across the world to prevent transmission of COVID-19. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), face masks or any cloth face covering can be the best weapon against the spread of SARS-CoV-2. While scientists have continued to produce evidence to prove the effectiveness of a face mask, people have been a little skeptical about it. In this blog, we will try to remove all the doubts you may have about face masks against coronavirus.
Why Masks Are Effective Against COVID-19 Spread?
Coronavirus is generally transmitted through respiratory droplets released while talking, sneezing, or doing any other oral activity that requires exhaling. While most of these droplets are heavy and cannot go more than 2 meters, there are evaporated droplets that can travel several meters without being noticed. People nearby just need to inhale these droplets through nose or mouth and their lungs are infected with the virus.
Ever wondered why there is so much vaporized heat when you wear a mask? This is how masks become a physical barrier for these evaporated droplets and prevent them from spreading far into the air.
Masks are more important to a disease like COVID-19 since there’s a delay in most people before exhibiting any symptoms whereas some people don’t show any symptoms at all. However, studies show that all the infected people can still transmit the disease, and face coverings can widely limit the spread.
Most Effective Masks Against Germs
Respirators work effectively against pathogens in the air due to their tangled fabric structure. Coronavirus is said to have an estimated diameter of 125 nanometers. The certified N95 respirators are effective against 95% of particles with a diameter ranging between 100nm to 300nm. There are other types of respirators available such as N99 for 99% air particles and N100 for 99.7% air particles. These respirators also come with valves allowing the user to breathe easily.
Mostly built with breathable synthetic fabric, there are several types of surgical masks available. Typically single-use, disposable surgical masks cover your mouth, nose, and jawline. Surgical masks have varying efficiency against pathogens ranging from 10 to 90 percent as per reports. Despite the differences between pathogen filtration capacities, both surgical masks and respirators are found to reduce respiratory illness risk in a randomized trial.
While self-made cloth masks are less effective against most pathogens and even carry gaps between cheeks, nose, and jaw, they still can work effectively against the spread of COVID-19. Unlike there medical-grade counterparts, cloth masks are not built with any synthetic fabric leaving pores that can’t keep evaporated droplets.
How to Wear and Take Off a Mask Properly
One of the most common problems that spoil the effectiveness of face masks is their misuse. Many people don’t know how to wear or remove a mask properly, leaving them vulnerable to certain other health conditions. Surgical or disposable masks are quite common since you can throw them after using them once. However, many people don’t know that you have to throw them when they become too moist. Here are the steps to putting on or removing a mask.
How to Put On
- Clean your hands with either a hand sanitizer with over 70% alcohol content or simple with soap and water.
- Take a new mask and make sure to hold it from the ear loops. Make sure there are no tears or holes on either side.
- You can easily determine the top of the mask with a bendable edge on the top meant to mold with your nose’s shape. Place ear loops around each ear and pinch the edge to fit with your nose.
- If you are using a mask with ties, take one end of each hand and tie them one by one.
- Pull the bottom edge of your mask to cover your mouth as well as the chin.
How to Remove
- Follow the hand cleaning procedure just as you followed before wearing it. Use soap and water or a hand sanitizer to clean your hands.
- Only touch the ear loops while opening your mask. Sanitize or clean your hands after removing the mask.
- If it’s a disposable mask, throw it in the trash. If it’s a reusable mask, wash it thoroughly before using it again.
Who Should Not Wear a Mask
Masks are currently universal and working as a great weapon against the spread of COVID-19. However, some people who should not wear a mask such as:
- 2-year old or younger children
- People with trouble breathing
- Anyone who cannot remove the mask without assistance or is unconscious, incapacitated.
A lot of people are dubious about the effectiveness of face masks against respiratory diseases such as COVID-19. This blog helps us understand how different types of face masks can be effective against many airborne diseases.
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