Healthcare professionals around the world are battling against coronavirus with declining access to personal protective equipment (PPE) kits. Since the new normal has shifted much, the shortage might put the lives of medical personnel and front-line workers in danger while treating affected ones.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the general public to wear non-medical masks or face coverings in public settings such as grocery stores and pharmacies where social distance is difficult to maintain. Medical staff works in highly contaminated areas which increases the risk of getting infected, so it is important for them to use special medical masks to prevent against health hazards.
Here’s a closer look at different types of masks, how much protection do each one offers, and when to wear it.
What are the Different Kinds of Masks Available?
- Surgical or medical masks: These are a loose-fitting mask, basically known as flexible disposable masks that can be used as an effective physical barrier against harmful droplets of sneezes and coughs, or particles released into the air by talking. These are highly recommended for individuals with symptoms of respiratory infection, medical professionals, and others in close contact with affected ones.
- KN95 face mask: The KN95 mask is more tight-fitting and can capture 95% of airborne particles, and viruses in dust, pollution, splashes, splatters, and dangerous body fluids. It is good to buy KN95 respirator but don’t hoard more than you need.
- Non-medical masks or cloth masks: The reusable non-medical face masks are good for individuals such as adults as well as children to attain optimal protection against viruses in smoke, dirt, droplets, and other disease-causing elements. It comes with multi-layer design, skin-friendly fabric, and breathable material for more personal fit around the face.
How Much Protection do Medical Masks Offer to Healthcare Facilities?
The use of surgical or medical mask may reduce the spread of bacterial and viral contaminants. Since medical workers come in contact with affected ones and disease-causing elements, medical masks could be an effective and safe option to block the transmission of large microorganisms. Wearing a medical mask can protect medical professionals, patients, and medical staff against large droplets, airborne particles, and any health hazards.
When to Wear a Face Mask?
Every individual should wear a mask or face covering when they walk outside their homes or work on essential operations. Here are a few examples:
- Shopping for essentials in grocery stores or pharmacies.
- When feeling sick, coughing, or sneezing.
- When interacting with outsiders, coworkers, and individuals.
- Performing essential services like laboratory testing where close interactions with others are inevitable.
- Picking up food from a takeaway or curbside pickup.
- Traveling on public transportation.
With the continuous spread of COVID-19, it is necessary for the general public to use non-medical masks which, when used properly, are effective in reducing their infection chances. This ensures that medical personnel can have access to medical masks when providing care to patients.