The sale of face masks has been drastically increased since the coronavirus pandemic has begun. But having such a huge variety of face masks, it might be confusing for anyone to pick a face mask that protects you from coronavirus.
Many people don’t know whether or not it is necessary to pay attention to which type of mask you are using. Medical experts say that it is indeed necessary to evaluate the efficacy of each type of mask and use the one that works best.
Typically, the surgical grade N95 respirator mask is considered as best for protecting from coronavirus. The number 95 in the name means it provides protection from 95% of airborne pathogens that cause infections in humans.
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But there are two problems with these masks; one they are costly and not everyone can afford them. Secondly, they are not available for a majority of people hence they are not a practical option for everyone. In addition to this, they add up to the waste that has to be dumped through landfill and many people often find it hard to wear them for long hours. All of this suggests that N95, despite being effective, is not practical and easy to use.
On the other side, there are disposable, surgical, paper, or cloth masks available which might not be as effective but there are millions of people using them. In fact, there is evidence that suggests that all these face masks, despite less effective somehow contribute to preventing catching coronavirus. However, week by the Royal Society says that this list of effective masks doesn’t add “homemade cloth masks” so there is no such benefit associated with them.
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Comparing the efficacy of paper masks and cloth masks, there is still no evidence to tell which one of them is better. In fact, researchers are not sure about any other mask than a surgical mask to be effective. Also, there are no as such parameters to determine which type of mask is better and how much protection it could they provide. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that any mask which covers the face more tightly, such as a bandana is far better than any other mask.
One US-based research study discusses the common materials that are helpful to seize particles between the sizes 0.3-1.0 microns diameter and all common viruses and bacteria are typically between this size range. Among these materials, falls common products such as vacuum cleaner bags, materials that have multiple players, bandana, scarves, and even quilter’s cotton. But still, there are only a limited number of particles that could be prevented through these materials.
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Medical experts believe that before re-using a mask, you should wash your hands with any good quality antibacterial soap and water. While using the mask, it is necessary to make sure that there are no gaps between the mask and the face. Whenever you put on a mask, avoid your face or the mask again and again, and even if you want to touch, wash your hands before it.
Do not use disposable masks again and again. They are manufactured to be effective for once and their effectiveness reduces and eventually ends when you use them repeatedly. For masks that are made of a “washable” material, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests washing them in “routine”.
Overall, it is necessary to pay attention to which type of mask they are using. Considering the current pandemic, it is of prime importance to know about different types of masks and which type of them protects you from coronavirus. Read the guidelines by authentic health agencies like WHO, CDC, and state departments for more details on masks.