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Can we defend COVID19 propagation with facial masks?

The contagious COVID-19 viral outbreak is a worldly concern today and if precautions not taken to fight back outright can affect a large number of people from different communities subsequently.  Until now no antidote has been formulated but precautions have been taken to avoid getting the infection. Covid19 transmits easily via respiratory droplets of an infected person’s cough or sneeze. These droplets land on the surface of the mouth or hands of healthy person and affects him. The Centre of Disease Control and Precautions (CDC) recommends people to wear surgical masks and protect themselves from keeping away viral infection. Further the CDC adds that Corona is a type of virus that creates ‘community-spread’, since people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.

 

Just how the saying goes “Charity begins from home”, safety should also begin from home. Personal protection and hygiene are required and to achieve that, one needs to take necessary measures.  Barricading particulate matters or even organisms from getting inside the body by simply putting on masks while breathing, talking, sneezing or coughing is the elemental measure that should be followed in everyday life.

 

Choosing the right type of mask within a variety of them available in this competitive market is a question now. There are two common kinds: Surgical face mask and N95/N99 respirators, both kinds have their own significance. To get protection from immediate environment, one must use surgical masks which provides a physical barrier to nose and mouth from the particulate matters, pollutants, spores, organisms present in that environment. Surgical masks are designed for surgical, isolation, dental and medical procedure wear and it is a loose-fitting disposable type of mask which is not to be shared among wearers. Whereas N95 is facial fit and filters finest of the air particles and airborne corpuscle, this type of mask gives 95% efficiency or in layman terms, it filters 95% of particles from the proximate environment.

 

In spite of the fact that N95 offers favorable protection, it is not recommended by CDC for locals as it is expensive and not everyone can spend to buy these respirators. Instead, surgical masks are preferred more since they are budget-friendly and effective at the same time. Surgical masks are made of simple non-woven fabric cloth and plastic-like polypropylene to protect from the environment. These come with four different levels of protection viz: Minimum protection, Level1, Level2, and level3. This classification is done on the basis of efficacy that they provide. Masks under minimum protection are for short procedures or exams and the ones under Level1, level2, Level3 provides 80mmHg, 120mmHg, and 160mmHg fluid resistance respectively with complete aerosol protection. Along with these characteristics they are easy to dispose. Respirators on the other hand have multiple layers and provide protection from both outside as well inside environment against the wearer’s own exhalation. They come in grades like N95, N99, N100 depending upon the percent protection that they provide. Respirators are usually used in sterile places and also in laboratories with higher biosafety levels. Major discomfort faced with wearers suffering from breathing problem is that it makes more difficult for them to breathe. Respirators give an effective seal to the face unless damaged. If damaged it should be discarded right away.

 

The count of people registered with COVID-19 infection has surpassed 100,000 according to the WHO with 80 thousand cases exclusively from China. Countries affected by COVID-19 include Korea, Italy, Iran, Singapore, Japan, Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the United States. This increasing spread can be controlled by taking certain precautions like facial protection and cleaning hands on a daily basis either with soap and water or with sanitizer. This provides double assurance to protection from the external environment, like double-check on health and life.

 

The use of masks and sanitizer is becoming a part of people’s mundane as they are skeptical about the polluted environment that they are residing in. Is there really a need to buy masks or respirators? If yes, then is there really a need to wear them? Purchasing masks and wearing them is not it, people should understand its importance and the correct way of wearing it.

Dr. Perencevich, Professor of medicine and epidemiology at the University of Iowa’s College of Medicine said. “There’s no evidence that wearing masks on healthy people will protect them. They wear them incorrectly, and they can increase the risk of infection because they’re touching their face more often.”

 

Reference:

  • http://multimedia.3m.com/mws/media/957730O/respirators-and-surgical-masks-contrast-technical-bulletin.pdf
  • https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/personal-protective-equipment-infection-control/n95-respirators-and-surgical-masks-face-masks
  • https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/index.html
  • https://www.businessinsider.in/science/news/the-flu-is-a-far-bigger-threat-to-most-people-in-the-us-than-the-wuhan-coronavirus-heres-why-/articleshow/73597700.cms
  • https://www.thomasnet.com/articles/other/how-surgical-masks-are-made/
  • https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200308-sitrep-48-covid-19.pdf?sfvrsn=16f7ccef_4

 

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