Does Wearing A Mask Protect You From Coronavirus?
To answer the question in short, it can be said that only healthcare workers and those who are taking care of the infected individuals need to wear masks. The N95s, known as the protective masks, are in very limited supplies, and thus the people who need them most are none other than the front line healthcare workers.
That being said, many individuals still debate that wearing the medical masks or some kind of face covering will prove to be helpful. The thing is, this may not exactly protect the wearer, but the others around them. Staying home and maintaining social distancing is by far the best and almost the only way to contain the virus spread. However, let’s see, if wearing a face cover can help the situation or not…
Importance of wearing masks in the Covid-19 pandemic:
There are several cases in which it is seen that individuals who don’t experience any symptoms are capable of transmitting the virus. The virus – SARS-CoV-2, which is known to cause Covid-19, is spread through droplets of fluids which infected people expel from nose and mouth. This generally happens when an infected individual coughs, sneezes, or talks.
Now, if the virus containing droplets lands on any surface, it is very easy for other people to pick them up. Once this virus is on your hands, they transfer to your mouth, nose and eyes very easily. Wearing a mask can block at least some of these droplets. If the wearer is infected and doesn’t know it yet, he/she can at least limit transmitting the virus.
Who should use a mask?
As per CDC, healthcare workers should always wear a mask to protect themselves from getting infected while taking care of Covid-19 patients. Also, individuals who are suspected to have coronavirus, or are experiencing Covid-19 symptoms like fever, cough and shortness of breath must wear a mask to limit the transmission of infection.
Next, if you have a Covid-19 patient at home, as per CDC and WHO you should maintain at least 6 feet distance from the patient and wear a mask around them. As per the findings so far, coronavirus spreads when an individual comes in close contact with an infected person. 6 feet is exactly how far bodily fluids travel when an individual coughs or sneezes.
Then again, during some medical procedures, the virus starts floating in the air in smaller particles. This process is known as aerosol transmission. This is the reason why healthcare professional specifically needs surgical masks and N95 masks.
It is usually advised that healthcare professionals use one mask for one patient, and immediately dispose it off. However, looking at the availability of N95s, the CDC has now guided to use a single mask to care for more than one patient.
Even though, there are only a few evidences confirming that an individual doesn’t contact the virus while wearing a mask, it is still advisable to wear a reusable mask when going out in the crowd. If nothing, it will at least inspire others to do the same, and an individual who is actually carrying and spreading the virus without knowing, might start wearing a mask.