The number of COVID-19 infection cases continues to climb. More than 7 lakh illnesses identified worldwide. While more than 34000 deaths have been reported. As per the most recent data from the WHO.
This Pandemic has spread to over 160 countries around the world, which is making people more concerned about the risk of infection and people are doing whatever they can to prevent themselves from this virus.
Shortly after the initial outbreak in January 2020, images came out of China, where the novel coronavirus originated. And it showed many people wearing face masks.
Now, people all over the world are wearing them, especially in crowded places like planes and trains. But, are they really effective in preventing this illness? The answer is much trickier than you think.
A senior scholar and an infectious disease expert at the JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY, Dr. Amesh Adalja said “face masks can help to protect against many respiratory infections that spread through the droplet route” and that also includes the coronavirus and Flu.
These illnesses can spread from an infected person to others through the air by coughing and sneezing or by touching a contaminated surface and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes prior to hand washing
If you wear a facemask, you can prevent those droplets from hitting your face or mouth before they drop to the ground.
However, there is one major catch to this, doctors are usually trained to use these masks properly and the general public isn’t, says Dr. William Schaffner (M.D Infectious diseases) and when they are not used correctly, say they are not properly placed on the face; they will not protect you from getting sick.
Achieving a proper sealing of the face is essential. Wearing a face mask can also be uncomfortable and exhausting to use over time and they are not designed to be worn 8 hours a day. Plus, if a mask does not fit your face properly, you may end up touching your face more than if you were not wearing one at all.
DOES THE TYPE OF MASK MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
Doctors say, an N95 respirator which is much thicker than a surgical mask, tends to be the most effective in this case while N99 masks filter out more particles, they can be very difficult to breathe in, and should not be used for extended periods of time.
Painter’s masks are worthless when it comes to respiratory protection.
Surgical masks which many people end up buying in stores are designed to prevent anything from surgeons mouth and nose from getting into the surgical field. They are really quite effective in doing that and they also provide a mild to moderate degree of protection from viral infections because they are not airtight around the edges.
When you breathe through and around them, it does not provide optimal respiratory protection.
SO WHAT ARE THE OTHER WAYS TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM CONTRACTING THE INFECTION?
Currently, there is no treatment available, but to minimize your exposure from the respiratory illness, take the proper precautions.
- While traveling to public places, use disposable gloves for extra safety with face masks.
- After traveling to a suspected place, immediately wash your clothes with anti-septic liquid and take a proper bath.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 sec,
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer,
- Do not touch your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hand,
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick,
- Avoid non-essential travel,
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash,
- Avoid handshakes,
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces,
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