Coronavirus has literally turned the world upside down. The past few months have been so new to us and the people of the world are slowly settling down in the new normal today. Countries and states around the world are reopening from stay-at-home and lockdown orders. As the lockdowns ease, the most crucial thing to remember is to wear a mask.
The World Health Organization and the Centres for Disease Control (CDC), recommend using masks while stepping out of the house. Health experts around the world unanimously agree that masks help prevent the spread of COVID-19. More people wearing masks in public is directly proportional to the reduction of the spread of coronavirus. There is a lot of evidence supporting the positive role of masks in reducing COVID-19. One lab study shows the ability of masks blocking respiratory droplets. The experiment using a high-speed video shows that about 20-500 micrometres were generated when saying a small phrase but nearly all of the droplets were blocked when the mouth was covered with a cloth. This was also seen in another study with people who had the common cold, found that wearing a surgical mask significantly reduced the amount of droplets and respiratory viruses released in the atmosphere.
What are the different types of masks available today?
- Surgical Masks
- N95 Masks
- Cloth Masks
How do the different masks work?
1. Surgical Masks
Surgical mask is a loose fitting, disposable mask that protects the person’s nose and mouth from droplets that may contain germs. The mask filters out large air particles from entering the wearer’s nose and mouth. It in turn helps the wearer from other droplets and aerosols from entering their own nose and mouth. Surgical masks are not proven to be 100% effective against coronavirus but provide some sort of a protection against it.
2. N95 Masks
An N95 mask gives better protection than a surgical mask. It filters out both small and large particles for the wearer. It is designed to keep out 95% of air particles from entering the nose and mouth. Like surgical masks, N95 masks are intended to be disposed of. Scientists and researchers are still trying to effectively disinfect N95 masks. There is a valve that helps release unfiltered air when the person breathes out. For this reason, it is considered not 100% effective against coronavirus.
3. Cloth Masks
Cloth masks give cover against droplets and particles from entering the atmosphere. Wearing a cloth mask can help bring down the spread of the virus from people who may have it and know that. It is being encouraged around the world to be worn in a public setting to curb the spread of the virus. Cloth masks can be washed and reused.
It is important to understand that even though masks are not 100% effective against coronavirus, they give effective protection against the spread of it. It is highly advisable to wear one while stepping out in a public setting. Face masks can help in reducing community transmission while they step outside. Masks stop or reduce the number of droplets from getting in and out of the wearer’s mouth. It is important that we all should be taking the necessary social distancing precautions, wear masks and regularly wash hands to keep ourselves away from contracting the virus.
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