Can wearing a medical face mask protect you against the new coronavirus? It’s an issue so many people are asking, including pet owners who are putting canine face masks on their dogs. If it’s a normal surgical face mask, the correct answer is no, Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, told Live Science.
A far more specialized mask, known as an N95 respirator, can protect against the brand new coronavirus, also called 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 point. That’s because, partly, it’s challenging to use these masks and use them for long periods of time, he stated.
Specialists receive retraining annually on how to properly fit these respirators across the nose, cheeks and chin, ensuring that wearers don’t breathe across the edges in the respirator. “When you do that, it appears that this work of breathing, since you’re experiencing a very thick material, is harder. You have to work to breathe inside and out. It’s a bit claustrophobic. It can get moist and hot within,” Schaffner said.
“I know which i can use them when I need to for approximately one half-hour,” he added. “Then again, I have to go out from the isolation room, take it off and try taking some deep breaths, kind of cool off, before I can go back in.”
Although 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 people who need them in jeopardy, Schaffner said.
Surgical masks – The thinner surgical mask is supposed for surgeons, since these products do a good job of keeping pathogens from your doctor’s nose and mouth from entering the surgical field, Schaffner said.
In certain Asian countries, including Japan and China, it’s not uncommon to find out people wearing surgical masks in public areas to protect against pathogens and pollution. But those masks don’t help much within the context of any virus, Schaffner said. “They’re not designed to keep out viral particles, and they’re not as tightly fitted around your nose and cheeks” as being an N95 respirator, he explained.
“Could they be of some use? Yes, but the effect is likely to be modest,” Schaffner said.
He noted that some individuals wear surgical masks because they are sick using a cold or even the flu and they don’t want to get other individuals sick. However, if you’re sick, it’s best just not to go to public areas. “That’s enough time to stay home,” Schaffner said.
People sick with COVID-19, however, should wear face masks to minimize the potential risk of infection to folks around them, according to the CDC. Healthcare workers and the ones “caring for someone infected with COVID-19 in close settings (both at home and in a healthcare facility),” should also wear face masks, the CDC reported.
People wearing surgical masks should dispose of them after each use, the CDC added.
Otherwise, the easiest method to avoid having the coronavirus is always to, first and foremost, postpone any visit places with known outbreaks. You can also thoroughly wash the hands with soap; avoid touching the eyes, nose and mouth xfsvee unwashed hands; avoid close exposure to those who are sick; and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, the CDC recommends.
As for pet owners putting face masks on the dogs, a Pomeranian dog in Hong Kong tested positive a “weak positive” for COVID-19. That dog has become in quarantine, but is not showing signs of the ailment, in accordance with a March 5 piece in the South China Morning Post. However, it’s unclear how 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 who have pets to not panic.