Can wearing a mask protect against COVID-19?
In simple terms No. Wearing a mask alone cannot prevent you from COVID-19. According to the world health organization “When wearing a mask, you must combine it hand hygiene and other preventive measure.”- Christine Francis. So when should an individual wear masks? Why is everyone around me wearing a mask? Should I get a mask because everyone around me has one? All these specific questions could be answered but these guidelines.
The World Health Organization only recommends a use of masks in specific cases highlighted below.
- If you have a cough, fever and have difficulty breathing, you should wear a mask and seek medical care.
- If you are healthy but are taking care of an individual with these symptoms or has COVID-19 you should wear a mask when in the same room.
- Lastly the primary use of a mask is to stop the spread of the virus if you have the new COVID-19.
Another common question asked is what type of mask should I be wearing an N95 respirator or a surgical mask?
- It is used to reduce the individual’s exposure to particles including small particle aerososis and large droplets.
- It filters out 95% of airborne particles including large and small particles.
- There is minimal leakage occurring around the edges of the respirator when the user inhales.
- The mask should be discarded once deformed, no longer forms an effective seal to the face, becomes wet or visibly dirty, breathing through it becomes difficult or it becomes contaminated with bodily fluids.
- It is used to resist fluid and provide the wearer protection against large droplets, splashes, or sprays of bodily or other hazardous fluids.
- It does not provide any sort of filtration for the wearer from inhaling smaller airborne particles.
- It is not considered respiratory protection.
- Leakage occurs around the edge of the mask when the individual wearing it inhales.
- The mask should be discarded after each patient encounter.
Both masks have their own pros and cons and if cost of care is not an issue one should use the N95 Respirator, as it protects the individual from exposure to small and large particles.