How Effective are Face Masks?
With COVID-19 numbers continuing to rise, one must pose the question, “Does my mask protect me from this virus?” In today’s climate, wearing a face mask has become nearly routine as people from around the world reach for various forms of facial coverings as they exit their homes and vehicles. For many, a quick stop to run into the store has become a time-consuming task that includes the inconvenient empty trip back to the car as they realize that they have forgotten what is now required by law to wear in public spaces... a mask.
- What is COVID-19?
On December 31, 2019, in Wuhan, China the first reported case of the virus, labeled as COVID-19 was recorded. This virus, also known as “The Coronavirus,” spreads opportunistically in cases of close personal interaction. Often beginning it’s transmission process with a person coughing, sneezing, and or even speaking creating respiratory droplets. These droplets then fall onto common areas and surfaces which can then be revisited and touched by others, who at that point are considered to be exposed to the virus. Once exposed, the virus usually causes upper respiratory symptoms such as coughing or a runny nose, however in some cases it causes more severe illness due to the virus's ability to attack other underlying health conditions in those infected. Ways to protect yourself from this virus include washing your hands, avoiding touching commonly touched places such as door knobs and handles, and lastly, according to the CDC, wearing a face-covering covering your nose and mouth when in public settings. But is that enough? Is a face mask what is truly needed in order to ensure the safety of human interaction? Or is this suggestion based on research on a particular type of mask?
- Which Masks Effectively Combat the Spread of COVID-19?
Although all forms of mask help slow the spread of COVID-19, the type of mask used is also important as it pertains to the individual's health. Research performed by Varsoy Healthcare suggests that cloth masks, despite being one of the most popularly used forms of facial covering, only prevents bacteria, dust, and pollen from entering your respiratory system.
Simply put, while offering little to no effectiveness against the virus COVID-19, the cloth masks have become a growing trend amongst the population due to their customization ability and reusability. The research further states that, other conventional masks such as the non-reusable blue surgical masks offer up to 95 percent protection from the virus COVID-19 while also deflecting up to 30 percent more bacteria, dust, and pollen away from the user’s respiratory system.
It may be concluded that the increasing population of people who have adopted wearing a face mask as a part of their daily attire has not yet had an inverse correlation to the number of people who are still being infected daily. But is the idea of making our masks a part of our outfit the very issue that is hindering negative test result numbers? For many, it has become more vital to have a stylish facial covering, then the overall priority of slowing the spread of COVID-19. Yet it is our duty to inform those naive to the ineffectiveness of the various forms of mask and facial coverings. So the next time you have the choice of the surgical mask or the stylist cloth mask that matches with your shoes, remember... that blue goes well with your eyes!
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