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Although there are many funny memes questioning if wearing masks are testing the mess compliance of people, logic tells us to try everything that would protect us and others against the spread of infections.
Disclaimer: I'm not a virologist or epidemiologist.
Do your own research and listen to experts when it comes to protecting yourself and others from virus infection as well as preventing the spread of viruses.
To prevent infection and transmission of viruses:
Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, or clean them with alcohol-based hand rub.
Maintain at least six feet distance between you and people coughing or sneezing.
Avoid touching your face.
Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
Stay home if you feel unwell.
Practice physical distancing by avoiding unnecessary travel and staying away from large groups of people.
N95 mask, a type of respirator, can filter out both large and small particles when the wearer inhales. As the name indicates, the mask is designed to block 95% of very small particles.
Designed for one time wear to protect the wearer and others, health care providers must be trained and pass a fit test to confirm a proper seal before using an N95 respirator.
N95 masks with valves make them easier to breathe, but because the valve releases unfiltered air when the wearer breathes out, this type of mask doesn't prevent the wearer from spreading the virus. For this reason, some places have banned them.
A surgical mask filters out large particles in the air.
Wearing surgical mask when you're infected may protect others by reducing their exposure to your secretions if you're infected and cough or sneeze.
The FDA has not approved any type of surgical mask specifically for protection against the coronavirus, but these masks may provide some protection when N95 masks are not available.
A cloth mask is intended to trap droplets that are released when the wearer talks, coughs or sneezes. Cloth masks can reduce the spread of the virus by people who have COVID-19 but don't realize it.
“Because they extend down from the forehead, shields protect the eyes as well as the nose and mouth,” says pediatric infectious disease specialist Frank Esper, MD. The coverage that face shields offer is ideal since the new coronavirus can enter the body through those points.
A 2014 study showed that when tested against an influenza-infused aerosol from a distance of 18 inches away, a face shield reduced exposure by 96% during the period immediately after a cough. The face shield also reduced the surface contamination of a respirator by 97%.
“It protects you, the wearer,” Dr. Esper says. “But if you cough, because this face shield is away from your face, those droplets can still get out better than if you have a mask on.”
Do you need to wear a face shield and a face mask together?
While surgeons and other skilled medical professionals wear face shields over face masks, it’s not necessary for the average person to do so.
Being a nurse, I'm trained, and I practice basic protection. Although I'm a hugger, actually, I really enjoy social distancing. When I go out, I wear face shield to protect myself. Although I'm not infected, the face shield would protect others in case I would have the virus and I would be asymptomatic.
Please draw your own conclusion. Do your research and protect yourself and others.
Erika M Szabo
Author of urban fantasy, magical realism novels and children's books,
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