Can putting on a medical face mask protect you against the new coronavirus? It’s a question lots of people are asking, including dog owners that are putting canine face masks on the dogs. If it’s an ordinary surgical face mask, the answer is no, Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, told Live Science.
A much more specialized mask, called an N95 respirator, can control the brand new coronavirus, also referred to as SARS-CoV-2. The respirator is thicker compared to a surgical mask, but neither Schaffner nor the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) recommend it for public use, a minimum of not around this point. That’s because, in part, it’s challenging to put on these masks and wear them for long amounts of time, he said.
Specialists receive retraining annually concerning how to properly fit these respirators around the nose, cheeks and chin, making sure wearers don’t breathe around the edges in the respirator. “When you accomplish that, it turns out that the work of breathing, since you’re going through an extremely thick material, is harder. You have to work to breathe in and out. It’s a bit claustrophobic. It can get moist and hot in there,” Schaffner said.
“I know i can put them on when I have to for approximately a half-hour,” he added. “Then again, I 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.”
Although 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 fitness of medical workers and those who need them at risk, Schaffner said.
Surgical masks – The thinner surgical mask is intended for surgeons, since these products do a good job of keeping pathogens from your doctor’s nose and mouth from entering the surgical field, Schaffner said.
In some Asian countries, like Japan and China, it’s not uncommon to view people wearing surgical masks in public places to protect against pathogens and pollution. But those masks don’t help much inside the context of the 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 said.
“Could they be of some use? Yes, but the effect will probably be modest,” Schaffner said.
He noted that many people wear surgical masks because they are sick having a cold or even the flu and they don’t need to get other individuals sick. But when you’re sick, it’s best just not to attend public areas. “That’s the time to remain home,” Schaffner said.
People sick with COVID-19, however, should wear face masks to reduce the potential risk of infection to folks around them, based on the CDC. Medical care workers and those “caring for someone infected with COVID-19 in close settings (at home or in a healthcare facility),” must also wear face masks, the CDC reported.
People wearing surgical masks should dump them after each use, the CDC added.
Otherwise, the best way to avoid obtaining the coronavirus is to, above all, postpone any go to places with known outbreaks. You can also thoroughly wash the hands with soap; avoid touching the eyes, nose and mouth xfsvee unwashed hands; avoid close exposure to individuals who are sick; and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, the CDC recommends.
In terms of pet owners putting face masks on the 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 of the condition, in accordance with a March 5 piece inside the South China Morning Post. However, it’s unclear the way the dog was tested for the illness. What’s more, it doesn’t appear that pets can transmit the virus to humans, and experts told people who have pets not to panic.