Masks have been on the rise since the appearance of the new Coronavirus 2019-nCoV, informally known as the Wuhan coronavirus and we can easily understand why. But does wearing a mask protect you? is it really effective against viruses?
If a mask is needed – then it needs to be the right one!
Surgical masks or Face masks
No more suspense: No, surgical masks do not provide effective protection from the virus. It does not protect against any viruses but if you are sick it reduces the risk of spreading the disease around you. Purchased in pharmacies, it should not be worn more than 3 hours and should be changed regularly as soon as it becomes soiled or wet. It must be immediately thrown into a bin with a plastic bag fitted with a lid. Double packaging is recommended to avoid contamination in case of tearing of the outer bag. Always wash your hands with soap and water or disinfect them after changing your mask. If you opt for the face mask, the ideal is to buy a face mask made of fabric with a rigid reinforcement. Always choose disposable masks and get enough to be able to change them regularly.
Unavailable in pharmacies, this respirator is commonly worn by health care professionals and those who are already sick. It is the only type of mask that allows both to be free of contamination and not to contaminate others if wear correctly. It has notably been used against resistant tuberculosis, avian influenza, and SARS. The duration of protection of this respirator varies between 3 and 8 hours. Once in place, it should no longer be touched and should be changed as soon as it is soiled, wet or if it is badly positioned on the face. Respirators can be purchased on the internet.
Tips for effective use
A mask, if used improperly, can instead increase the risk of transmission. It is therefore advisable to respect certain rules of hygiene to reduce risks.
Carefully apply the mask to cover your nose and mouth and tie tightly to adjust it properly.
Stay at a good distance (more than a meter) from other people.
Always wear a mask when you are in contact with other people.
Do not touch it or replace it with dirty hands.
Never reuse the same mask.
Wearing a mask does not dispense with the usual hygiene rules to limit contagion: wash your hands regularly by rubbing them for at least 30 seconds, protect your mouth with your elbow when coughing or sneezing, use disposable tissues only, regularly ventilate your home and limit your contact with others (avoid handshakes, do not kiss your loved ones …). Don’t forget, that masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
Remember that although viruses cannot penetrate the skin, it can penetrate all mucous membranes, including the eyes. Generally, viruses are often spread by contact, such as touching an elevator button or a contaminated door and then touching its face. The studies about the Wuhan coronavirus conclude that this virus can persist on surfaces and remain infectious at room temperature for a long time…