Can a medical face mask be that effective to protect you from the coronavirus?
The answer to this is known by everyone from a household worker to a businessmen/woman. People who are dog/cat runners are eager to know about this because of the history of corona being spread though animals. Also, these pet owners put canine face masks on their animals to protect them from the virus.
Dr. William Schaffner from Vanderbilt university present in Tennessee who is a renowned specialist of infectious disease believes that a commonly used surgical mask can’t be of any such help as it can’t help in protecting you from coronavirus.
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But another type of mask that is N95 respirator or also known by its other name, SARS-CoV-2 could be a better option. The surgical masks are thin and light-weighted but this mask is thick. Although, these masks are not suggested to use because of its complications to wear (difficulty in breathing and a rise in discomfort) neither from the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (or CDC) nor from a renowned scientist, Dr. William Schaffner. These masks can’t be worn for a longer period and if can’t be then how are we going to protect ourselves from the virus.
Workers who have to visit the coronavirus affected people like doctors, etc have to go for training that happens annually. This training is for how to wear the mask appropriately. Precautions are taken so that infected air can’t get in even from the edges of the respirators. Since the material of the N95 respirator is pretty thick or hard, it is obvious that a person who wears it will face a problem in breathing. For this, one has to work for the breath in and breath out technique while wearing the mask. It also creates a hot and soggy atmosphere as stated by Dr. William Schaffner.
Also, the reason why they are not recommended for other normal class people, but workers present in the hospital is because of priority. Workers have to encounter infected people most of the time while the people who don’t work in a hospital don’t have to. Therefore, they require much help to stay protected from this deadly disease. Till now we haven’t received the cure for this day-to-day increasing problem of people being infected and killed by this virus. Also, if the government starts recommending these N95 masks to the commoners or the population, then people will start overfilling their plates with these respirators resulting in shortages of the masks ending up causing more and more problems than it ever was, as a risk in the health of workers working in the infirmary.
SURGICAL MASKS – GOOD OR BAD?
Nevertheless, Dr. William Schaffner suggests that surgical masks are specifically made for surgeons. The reason is that products like this helps in keeping away the bacteria from the surgeon’s mouth and nose, preventing it from inflowing the surgical field.
However, in some Asian countries like China and Japan, people wear surgical masks even on normal days. As the places are much populated, people of that nation feel an urge to protect themselves from pollution and normal pathogens. But unfortunately, a surgical mask is not successful enough to make the person stay protected from a virus-like Corona. The reason being their design and structure. Surgical masks can not keep the viral particle (they travel much faster than any other micro-organisms) also unlike the N95, they are loosely fitted and can’t be sure whether or not a person can stay healthy when a virus-like corona is on the loose.
Now hearing all about the incapability of surgical masks, a question comes into our minds.
Question – Can a surgical mask be of any use?
The answer to this is, yes, but the efficacy is different as explained by Dr. William Schaffner.
It is perfect to stay at home when you know that you are unwell or ill. With people who have a normal cold or flu, it is a common state of mind that you don’t want to affect other people as well. In cases like that, it is okay to wear a surgical mask. As it cannot let the big droplets go out from one infected person to another and make the other one sick just like you. Also, apart from wearing a surgical mask, it is always better not to go outside or in areas where gatherings happen (often).
Bestowing to CDC, people affected by the coronavirus should (and it is mandatory) to wear face masks to remove even the slightest of a chance of getting with this disease. Even the people (aside from the hospital workers), the family members or friends should wear a mask because there is a full possibility of coming in contact with the COVID-19.
Not to forget it is very much important that people who wear it have to (without any doubt) dispose of these masks. It is because of germs getting a way to enter in our body and destroy our immune system. Also, there is no point of covering yourself when after using a surgical mask or anything, if you forget to dispose of it.
Another major important thing that you can do to prevent coronavirus to be a guest of your life is to stop or cancel traveling. This is done to prevent occurrences. Because when you travel to places, you are certainly going to interact with people and their things, so it is better to stay at home while this whole matter gets in control and we have a cure for this delinquent. Wash your hands with a good quality product. It is also advised not to touch any part of your body frequently as the chances of viruses entering your body is maximum (not with dirty hands especially). Stay as far as possible from sick people and don’t forget to clean and sterilize places where most of the people touch. These are some of the recommendations given by the CDC.