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Different Face Masks and Their Effectiveness Against COVID-19

COVID-19 is a highly contagious respiratory disease. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have highly recommended people to wear face masks while in public places. It is one of the most effective preventions and control methods. The masks are productive since people without symptoms can still transmit the virus. COVID-19 is mainly spread through saliva droplets or nose discharges, especially through coughing and sneezing. Below, we have highlighted three different types of masks for diverse environments and situations. They include the N95 respirators, surgical, and cloth face masks.

N95 Respirators

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The N95 respirators are generally circular or oval. They have elastic bands that help to hold it tight on to your face. They also have exhalation valves that ease breathing and releases heat buildup and humidity. These masks protect against the smallest of the respiratory droplets, and thus, are best for those in the healthcare profession. However, their use is limited since there is a narrow worldwide supply.

Surgical Masks

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Surgical masks are disposable loose-fitting masks that protect the nose, mouth, and extend below the chin. They offer protection from the coronavirus particles, microbes, splashes, and droplets. These masks reduce the risk of transmission of the disease. They vary in design, but the majority are rectangular with several folds. They either have elastic bands or long straight ties that can loop behind the ears.

Homemade Cloth Face Mask

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The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people can use cloth face masks as a voluntary public measure. These cloths are effective when attending to duties in public. However, people must still adhere to social distancing. Nevertheless, the cloth mask should be snugly but comfortable. It should also contain multiple layers of fabric and allow breathing without restrictions. However, you should avoid it if you are in a high-risk area of dealing with people who have tested positive.

Doctors have recommended a simple light test for designers and tailors to help decide whether the fabric is good for making a mask. If you hold up a bright light to a piece of fabric and if it passes easily through the material, it is not a good fabric. On the contrary, if it is a denser material and light does not pass through, then it can help to prevent the virus.

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Note: Always wash the homemade cloth masks after every use with soap, antiseptic and clean water. Also, when removing them, clean your hands first, and be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth. Then wash your hands immediately after removing. This recommendation is in addition to maintaining a social distance of at least two meters.

Best Practices to Keep in Mind for Face Masks During This Corona Virus Pandemic

  1. Do not reuse surgical masks and discard them in closed bins after removing them.
  2. Always wash homemade cloth face masks after every use with soap, antiseptic and clean water.
  3. Always clean your hands before wearing your mask and after you remove it. Additionally, sanitize your hands the moment you touch the front of the mask.
  4. Masks do not replace the necessity for other protective measures. Proper hygiene practices and social distancing are still the best safety methods.

Best Prevention Measures Against COVID-19

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  1. Frequently and systematically clean your hands with soap and water or with an alcohol-based sanitizer.
  2. Practice social distancing of at least 2 meters to prevent inhalation of saliva droplets or nose discharges when someone sneezes or coughs.
  3. Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth.
  4. Ensure you cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze.

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