A massive increase in demand of face masks was observed when new coronavirus was identified in China at the end of 2019. This has expanded exponentially all over the world since then. The new coronavirus is referred to as SARS-CoV-2. Disease caused by coronavirus is called COVID-19.
In many countries of the world masks, awareness campaigns are run, from schools to offices and on media to provide maximum knowledge about the usage of masks.
● As everybody is aware of the pandemic “COVID-19” running through our countries, this disease has made us learn more about the proper usage and importance of masks.
● Masks are used for saving ourselves and people around us from multiple disorders, including all airborne viruses and preventing numerous bacteria from entering our body and developing an infection.
● Masks are commonly used for working in factories and places with dust, smoke, and harmful pollutants and chemicals, which can cause severe damage by inhaling. Generally, masks are used as lung protecting equipment.
● Multiple diseases can be overcome by wearing masks.
Wearing a surgical mask could create a big difference in one’s life as per the current condition.
WHEN & WHERE WE SHOULD WEAR MASK?
When we sneeze or cough, masks prevent our droplets from spreading. Similarly, when you are wearing a mask and someone sneezes or coughs without wearing a mask, it saves you from getting infected. Not wearing a mask is the main reason why coronavirus spreads so fast. It leads to either ending up of disease or reduces its effectiveness.
We all are aware of the fact that coronavirus spreads from close contact, coughing, sneezing, wheezing, and spreading particles in the air and giving a medium for an airborne virus to travel. By using face masks, it reduces the spread and exposure to viruses or particles. By wearing a mask, you are not only keeping yourself safe but also stopping it from transmitting to others.
Healthcare providers wear masks to protect themselves in the procedure, multiple testings, surgeries, and laboratory findings that can’t get on their face or mouth. It is compulsory and a piece of accessory for a healthcare professional as well as it is their responsibility to wear a mask.
It is highly recommended for people working in industries where there are high quantity and risk of inhaling hazardous substances, which could lead to respiratory distress and effect, not yours. Still, it can pass the toxicity to other healthy individuals as well. So, by wearing a mask, you can overcome this problem and do a good deed.
TYPES OF MASKS
Many types of masks are available but mostly used masks and standard masks are:-
* N-95 MASK (known for its most durable protection)
* SURGICAL MASK (Known for medical purpose)
* FFP-1 MASK (Known for isolating suspended particles)
* ACTIVATED CARBON MASK (known as Stop Door)
* CLOTH MASK (known for primary use)
* SPONGE MASK (known for fashion or sport use)
But more common to use is a surgical mask. And in this pandemic situation, N-95 masks are commonly used and advised.
USAGE OF MASKS
N-95 mask or respirator is a disposable safety mask. It covers the nose and mouth. It has a valve located for breathing and to save the breather from inhaling small particles/ organisms, which can lead to emergency conditions. Healthcare workers are highly advised to wear this or people diagnosed with an airborne disease or any such disease which is spread by droplets or contact.
It is also disposable, single-use, loose-fitting, an adjustable mask that has 2 or 3 layers with a filter. It filters abundant size bacteria and viruses.
It saves the breather from environmental pollutants. Usually, individuals, healthcare workers, industrial workers, and also weak, ill patients are advised to wear this mask to limit the transmission of germs.
FFP or filtering facepieces. This mask is not used so commonly. It creates a barrier between aerosols and fine particles, which are invisible but can cause high risk for trachea and considerable lung damage.
Mostly used in food and cement or building industries. But not full barrier is implied. It has leakages too, i.e., it only filters particles that range up to 0.6 micrometers.
ACTIVATED CARBON MASK
It is used in industry where acid is handled or prepared, or gas sampling is done. It is used as personal protection equipment but very irritant to wear for a long time. It also has a valve for breathing and has a charcoal sheet expanded inside, which helps to trap toxins, chemicals, and heavy metals.
Used in underdeveloped countries but mostly as DIY and for fashion. It is tightly woven but breathable. Used only for protection from external things. No significant medical usage but advised using haze or fire or smoke.
It is a dust or foam mask. It has no filter but made of polyurethane, which is the material for forming the sponge. It is not so useful as it is made up of porous sponge material. These are washable and reusable. They are commonly used by cyclists or climbers.
HOW EFFICIENTLY MASKS WORK?
Each type of mask can be used in different scenario, and not all are able to perform the same. We need to understand that built quality and purpose of use for these masks are very different.
This comes above in efficiency as per the amount of filtration and protection it gives. It creates a barrier of about 95% from viral attacks and 100% safety from bacterias, dust, small particles, and pollens.
It creates a 95% barrier from viruses but can not cope up with a more significant amount like 80% from bacteria dust particles smoke and pollens.
This mask is less common but gives full protection from infections like 95% of the virus, 80% of the bacteria, and 95% from dust particles, noxious gases, and hazardous particles.
ACTIVE CARBON MASK
This works as a filter or absorbent for gases and large particles. So it doesn’t have sufficient control for viruses and bacteria, but dust, smoke, or pollens are 50% somehow controlled by this mask. And it creates sensitivity against the skin like redness, dryness, roughness.
Not much efficiency is seen for cloth mask. But somehow around 50% smoke and pollens are trapped away by cloth masks.
It contains pores, so 0% efficiency is seen for these.
As per efficiency and usage, all masks have their importance somewhere, but N-95 and surgical masks can be much more effective in fulfilling safety criteria and protection against pathogens.
Masks reduce the likelihood of getting problems. It takes a few seconds to put on a cover, which could save us from a rising danger or protect us from providing an environment to the unseen pathogens in the air and surroundings.
Other effective ways to prevent COVID-19
- Always wear a mask when require.
- Practice Social Distancing and keep a distance of 6 feet while communicating with people.
- First, ensure that mask is clean or washed before use.
- You can choose your own choice suitable mask.
- Fit it properly to your nose and chin. Poorly fit masks don’t protect.
- Do not touch your mask after you put it on.
- Don’t remove in a hazardous place to talk, eat before you reach home or safe place.
- Keep your mask always in a clean place.