Can putting on a medical face mask protect you against the new coronavirus? It’s an issue lots of people are asking, including pet owners who definitely are putting canine face masks on their dogs. If it’s an ordinary surgical face mask, the correct answer is no, Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, told Live Science.
A much more specialized mask, known as an N95 respirator, can control the newest coronavirus, also referred to as SARS-CoV-2. The respirator is thicker than 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, in part, it’s challenging to put on these masks and put them on for long time periods, he stated.
Specialists receive retraining annually concerning how to properly fit these respirators around the nose, cheeks and chin, making certain wearers don’t breathe across the edges from the respirator. “When you accomplish that, it ends up that this work of breathing, since you’re dealing with a very thick material, is harder. You must work to breathe out and in. It’s a bit claustrophobic. It can get moist and hot inside,” Schaffner said.
“I know that I can put them on when I have to for approximately a half-hour,” he added. “Then again, I will need 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.”
While it still might be possible to snag an N95 respirator online, Schaffner advised against it. If too many people unnecessarily stockpile respirators, a shortage could put the health of medical workers and people who need them in jeopardy, Schaffner said.
Surgical masks – The thinner surgical mask is intended for surgeons, because these products perform a good job of keeping pathogens from the doctor’s nose and mouth from entering the surgical field, Schaffner said.
In a few Asian countries, like Japan and China, it’s not unusual to find out people wearing surgical masks in public to safeguard against pathogens and pollution. But those masks don’t help much in the context of a virus, Schaffner said. “They’re not made to keep out viral particles, and they’re not nearly as tightly fitted around your nose and cheeks” being an N95 respirator, he explained.
“Could they be of some use? Yes, nevertheless the effect will probably be modest,” Schaffner said.
He noted that some individuals wear surgical masks since they are sick with a cold or even the flu and they also don’t need to get other people sick. But if you’re sick, it’s best just not to attend public areas. “That’s the time to stay home,” Schaffner said.
People sick with COVID-19, however, should wear face masks to reduce the chance of infection to individuals around them, based on the CDC. Healthcare workers and people “taking care of someone infected with COVID-19 in close settings (both at home and in a healthcare facility),” must also wear face masks, the CDC reported.
People wearing surgical masks should dispose of them after each use, the CDC added.
Otherwise, the best way to avoid obtaining the coronavirus is to, above all, postpone any visit places with known outbreaks. You can also thoroughly wash the hands with soap; avoid touching your vision, nose and mouth xfsvee unwashed hands; avoid close connection with individuals who are sick; and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, the CDC recommends.
In terms of pet owners putting face masks on their own dogs, a Pomeranian dog in Hong Kong tested positive a “weak positive” for COVID-19. That dog is currently in quarantine, but is not showing signs and symptoms of the condition, according to a March 5 piece in the South China Morning Post. However, it’s unclear the way the dog was tested for your illness. What’s more, it doesn’t appear that pets can transmit the virus to humans, and experts told individuals with pets to not panic.
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