The best type of mask to protect you from COVID




Barring the availability of a vaccine or a definite treatment, masks are our best form of defence against the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Not only can wearing a mask reduce the risk of transmission, but it can also lower the spread when a sick person wears it, as per the study.


While different types of masks offer different levels of protection, N95 masks were once considered to be the most supreme ones. However, a government advisory warned the public from using N95 masks with valves. The recent advisory brings back the focus on what really is the best kind of mask to prevent coronavirus risk?

What is the problem with N95 masks?

N95 masks come fitted with a disk of plastic, known as a 'valve' in the fabric which is meant to filter out air and support breathing. They were predominantly used to fight out allergies and pollution, as they provide a person with quality air to breathe. However, during COVID-19, the valves provide very little support and can make matters worse.

Here's why

Since N95 masks help take out the bad air a person breathes, it can spell trouble if it is used by someone who is infected by COVID-19 (symptomatic or asymptomatic). Since unfiltered, virus-carrying air is released in the environment, it becomes easy for someone to transmit and spread the infection onto others. This is especially problematic if a person is asymptomatic. The centre issued guidelines for the public, stressing on the fact that N95 masks with one-way valves do not stop COVID-19 transmission:

“It is to bring to your knowledge that the use of valved respirator N-95 masks is detrimental to the measures adopted for preventing the spread of coronavirus as it does not prevent the virus from escaping out of the mask. I request you to instruct all to follow the use of face/mouth cover and prevent inappropriate use of N-95 masks.”

The alternatives

Using a surgical or a cloth mask (made at home, or bought) can also protect you from the novel coronavirus. While respirator masks were considered to be the best kind of masks, surgical masks can have loose gaps which can let in microbes and germs. FFP1 masks are considered to be the next best alternative to a respirator mask and are more tightly fitted around the nose and the mouth, offering up to 95% protection

Can W95 be the best replacement?

W95 masks are being talked about as the next best thing which garners the most protection and comfort in times of the pandemic. W95 masks contain multiple layers of protective fabric, accommodates facial movement and has a nose clip for added protection. It is estimated that they can capture up to 95% of bacteria and viruses and provide good protection against infection. Since they are designed with a mask wearer's comfort in mind, they are also easy to wear outside or when one is exercising.

How to use your mask for best protection

There are several different types of masks available in the market. A good mask that offers protection from the virus would be the one which fits you well, covers the nose and the mouth and is non-porous. Make sure the mask you have does not have any loose ends which could provide an entry point for virus to enter. Avoid touching the mask, or removing it to talk.

It's important to dispose off masks well

If masks are not discarded off properly, it multiplies the risk of infection through surface areas and also contributes to the rising problem of 'plastic pandemic', which is another issue the world is facing. Central Pollution Control Board recently issued some guidelines to ensure proper disposal and reduce chances of infection with masks and other protective gear. According to newly issued guidelines, used masks and gloves should be kept in paper bags for 72 hours and cut/shredded before they are discarded. Such a measure will also reduce the chances of reuse.

Measures for safe disposal of other types of protective equipment as well any other contaminated products were also issued. While the board advised the usage of reusable masks to reduce environmental burden, it should be noted that masks must be used effectively, as per their make. One-time and disposable masks should be safely disposed off and not reused. Reusable masks should be sanitized and disinfected before every use. Masks and face coverings should also never be shared between people.





from LifeStyle
The best type of mask to protect you from COVID The best type of mask to protect you from COVID Reviewed by streakoggi on August 01, 2020 Rating: 5
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