Since the onset of Covid-19, scientists have had to work hard to come up with ways of combating the spread of the novel coronavirus. Top among these strategies is social distancing, maintaining hand hygiene, and the mass public use of face masks to prevent infectious respiratory aerosols’ communication.
Even so, the use of face masks has continuously come under considerable controversy in the Western Hemisphere as to how effective it is with certain groups of people willingly refusing to wear masks in protest.
This could be largely attributed to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) reluctance to advocate for masks’ mass use when in public. The WHO did, however, change its stance on the matter of mask use in public.
To that effect, let’s take an in-depth insight into surgical masks’ efficiency in protecting the wearer from Covid-19.
How Surgical Face Masks Work
A surgical mask work is a face covering worn around the face that’s usually flat and rectangular in shape. They have a metal strip that indicates what side of the mask should rest on the nose.
Surgical masks help prevent large particles and fluids from penetrating through the material and onto the wearer’s face. They are mostly used by healthcare workers and medical professionals.
When it comes to the coronavirus, surgical masks avoid aerosol penetration and contaminated respiratory particles from landing on the wearer’s mouth and nose.
With lockdowns being imposed in many Western countries, the ongoing epidemic has made it necessary for people to have surgical face masks that can be bought online. Click here to see some of the best surgical masks in the market today available from 72hours.ca.
For us to gain a better understanding of how surgical face masks work, it’s important to highlight that the novel coronavirus is mainly transmitted through respiratory droplets released through talking, sneezing, and coughing.
People get infected by the coronavirus when they come into contact with contaminated surfaces as well. This happens when respiratory droplets from an infected person fall on a surface with high human traffic such as a stair handrail, hence, the need for regular handwashing.
It’s worth pointing out that due to the minuscule nature of respiratory droplets, face masks are categorized as per the size of particles they can allow through. As for surgical masks, it’s safe to say that they are quite effective in preventing coronavirus transmission since they trap particles and droplets larger than 0.3 microns in size.
Surgical masks have received their fair share of criticism mostly because they fit loosely around the face. This means there’s a likelihood that the wearer can easily inhale contaminated droplets suspended in the air.
However, wearing a surgical mask alone will not guarantee you immunity from getting infected. For it to be effective, surgical mask use should be combined with other measures such as physical distancing, proper hand hygiene, and isolating at home.
Who Should Wear Medical Masks?
As mentioned above, there is a wide array of masks used to prevent the transmission of Covid-19. However, choosing what mask is most effective can be quite confusing, especially with the amount of overwhelming information available today concerning face mask use.
For instance, one issue many people are grappling with is understanding who should be wearing medical masks and who shouldn’t. Generally, medical masks (surgical masks) are highly recommended for:
- Medical personnel in clinical settings. This includes any health provider and offering medical services at any health facility.
- People who’ve tested positive as well as potentially infected persons, including those experiencing mild symptoms such as sore throat, fatigue, muscle aches, and a slight cough.
- People awaiting results from a Covid-19 test.
It’s worth noting that surgical masks should also be used by highly vulnerable people to Covid-19. Such people include individuals who are aged 60 and above or people with underlying health conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, respiratory disorders, cancer, and obesity, among many others.
Guidelines for Wearing Surgical Masks
As highlighted above, surgical masks are a formidable tool in mitigating the spread of the coronavirus. However, just like any other tool, a surgical mask will only be effective when used in the right way.
Here is a small guideline of how you should wear your surgical mask for maximum efficiency properly.
- Before touching your surgical mask, you must clean your hands thoroughly. You can do this by washing your hands with soap and clean water using an alcohol-based sanitizer.
- After sanitizing your hands, pick your surgical mask by the strings. Avoid touching the inner white part of the cover. Position the lines on your ears to ensure that your medical mask is firmly in place over your nose and mouth to include your chin. Remember to avoid touching the inner part of the mask as much as possible.
- Make sure you have your surgical mask whenever you are within 6 feet of other people (regardless of whether they are infected or not).
- If you feel mild symptoms coming on and want to see a doctor, ensure to put on your surgical mask as you make your way to the hospital. This will go a long way in ensuring that you avoid possibly infecting other people along the way in case you’re carrying the virus.
- You should also consider wearing your surgical mask each time you are in a crowded setting. This is especially important if your area of residence has a high rate of Covid-19 cases.
- Surgical masks are single-use and should be disposed of upon removal. As you do so, make sure that you remove it by the strings. Remember that a surgical mask is a one time tool and should not be used twice.
Wearing Surgical Masks Increases Your Chances of Not Contacting the Coronavirus
Knowing the importance of wearing a surgical mask is one step to combating the spread of covid-19. However, knowing how to use the mask effectively is essential to your safety and that of your loved ones. By adhering to the following guidelines, you can rest assured that you will help reduce the infection rates in your community, and flatten the curve overall.