Can putting on a medical face mask protect you against the new coronavirus? It’s a matter many people are asking, including animal owners who definitely are putting canine face masks on the dogs. If it’s a regular surgical face mask, the reply is no, Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, told Live Science.
A far more specialized mask, called an N95 respirator, can control the new coronavirus, also known as SARS-CoV-2. The respirator is thicker compared to a surgical mask, but neither Schaffner nor the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) recommend it for public use, at the very least not at this particular point. That’s because, partly, it’s challenging to wear these masks and wear them for long periods of time, he explained.
Specialists receive retraining annually regarding how to properly fit these respirators across the nose, cheeks and chin, making certain wearers don’t breathe across the edges of the respirator. “When you do that, it ends up that the work of breathing, since you’re experiencing a very thick material, is harder. You have to work to breathe out and in. It’s a bit claustrophobic. It can get moist and hot in there,” Schaffner said.
“I know i can use them when I have to for about a half-hour,” he added. “However, I have to go out from the isolation room, remove it and try taking some deep breaths, kind of cool off, before I can go back in.”
Even though it still might be possible to snag an N95 respirator online, Schaffner advised against it. If a lot of people unnecessarily stockpile respirators, a shortage could put the healthiness of medical workers and those who need them at risk, Schaffner said.
Surgical masks – The thinner surgical mask is supposed for surgeons, as these products conduct a good job of keeping pathogens through the doctor’s nose and mouth from entering the surgical field, Schaffner said.
In some Asian countries, like Japan and China, it’s not unusual to view people wearing surgical masks in public to guard against pathogens and pollution. But those masks don’t help much inside the context of a virus, Schaffner said. “They’re not created to keep out viral particles, and they’re not as tightly fitted around your nose and cheeks” being an N95 respirator, he explained.
“Could they be of some use? Yes, nevertheless the effect is likely to be modest,” Schaffner said.
He noted that many people wear surgical masks because they are sick having a cold or perhaps the flu and they don’t would like to get other people sick. But when you’re sick, it’s best just not to attend public areas. “That’s time to remain home,” Schaffner said.
People sick with COVID-19, however, should wear face masks to reduce the risk of infection to people around them, in accordance with the CDC. Medical care workers and people “taking care of someone infected with COVID-19 in close settings (both at home and in a healthcare facility),” also needs to wear face masks, the CDC reported.
People wearing surgical masks should get rid of them after each use, the CDC added.
Otherwise, the simplest way to avoid obtaining the coronavirus is always to, first of all, postpone any travel to places with known outbreaks. You can also thoroughly wash your hands with soap; avoid touching the eyes, nose and mouth xfsvee unwashed hands; avoid close contact with individuals who are sick; and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, the CDC recommends.
Regarding dog owners putting face masks on their dogs, a Pomeranian dog in Hong Kong tested positive a “weak positive” for COVID-19. That dog is currently in quarantine, however is not showing signs and symptoms of the condition, based on a March 5 piece in the South China Morning Post. However, it’s unclear the way the dog was tested for that illness. What’s more, it doesn’t appear that pets can transmit the virus to humans, and experts told people with pets to not panic.