Can I protect myself from the coronavirus with a face mask? How valuable are face masks during the coronavirus pandemic? Specialists cannot generally concur on this: Should we wear them? Furthermore, assuming this is the case: who should wear them? Do they ensure me, or the other individual? What is more, which sorts of covers bode well by any means?
We all must wear them now – and yet there is still extensive and relentless discussion about protective masks. Some say: there are no functional scientific studies that can prove that protective masks protect against the coronavirus. Others say: But it does not do any harm – and it seems at least plausible that they might be of some use after all. The fact is: There is no simple answer to this question. And the introduction of compulsory masks does not make things any easier.
In numerous Asian nations, face masks are one of the primary weapons in the battle against the coronavirus. What is more, in China, it is even illegal to be in the city without a veil.
In Europe, they are various feelings about wearing masks. In times of scarcity, many believe masks should be reserved for healthcare workers who depend on protection. But that view seems to have changed recently. Now more and more local authorities do recommend wearing masks in public.
FACE MASK AS AN ADDITIONAL PROTECTIVE GESTURE
Since the end of March 2020, the topic has slowly gained momentum. At that time, some experts recommended the wearing of protective masks, whether they were purchased or self-sewn.
The topic went through the roof in the media – and the discussion about the pros and cons of protective masks for the mouth and nose had taken on an alarming spin: Arguments and scientific studies suddenly no longer counted
Can I protect myself from the coronavirus with a face mask?
At least in the fresh air in all probability: No. because the risk of infection is generally low outdoors, as long as you keep your distance – and there is a good reason for this: consistent spacing prevents you from becoming infected with the coronavirus. Masks do not wear. Therefore, it makes little sense to wear masks outdoors.
But: Sometimes keeping a distance is difficult
In situations where you get close to other people over a more extended period, the risk of infection is much higher. Elderly care workers, doctors or people in full buses and trains are not able to keep the distance requirement well. In these situations, mouth-nose masks could be helpful, although infection is still possible. But the viral load that lands on the mucous membranes could be lower with a protective cover – and this could lead to a milder course of the disease.
Face Mask types
- Alternative masks
So-called “alternative” or “non-medical” masks can be, for example, a homemade fabric mask or a simple cloth covering mouth and nose. This type of mask helps to retain the droplets that are spread when you speak, sneeze, or cough.
We must distinguish between “alternative” masks and so-called surgical masks and “FFP2” respiratory masks, which are primarily reserved for doctors and nursing staff.
- Surgical masks
Surgical masks are resistant to liquids and are worn when exposure to droplets or secretions is expected, including during surgical procedures.
They do not protect against infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Still, they do protect others if the person wearing the mask is infected, even without showing symptoms. These masks should also be worn by people who are in contact with people at risk to protect them.
The mask is a medical device covered by the European Directive 93/42/EEC on medical devices. Its conformity with the provisions of the Directive by the CE marking on the packaging, which guarantees quality and safety.
Respiratory protection masks, known as “FFP2”, are for the protection in connection with air transmission. Those masks protect nursing staff more effectively by an infected patient during intubation procedures, or oropharyngeal swabs, physiotherapeutic respiratory therapy, dental care, the opening of the respiratory circuit, endotracheal aspiration, etc.
Who can use Face masks?
This mask is not intended for doctors and nurses, but the public in certain situations, among others:
- When you feel sick.
- If you want to contribute to the collective effort to contain the virus.
- In public places where the minimum distance between two people is difficult to maintain.
The virus that causes COVID-19 can be transmitted even in the absence of symptoms. It is therefore advisable to cover your mouth and nose with a mask or another cloth, especially in public places where it is challenging to keep the interpersonal distance.
However, beware of the false sense of security, as there is no scientific evidence that this type of mask protects against respiratory viruses.
Wearing masks that do not comply with current standards may be justified in the event of a shortage of supply, and on condition that the cover is used in addition to other protective gestures. It may thus help to prevent the transmission of the virus by persons who are unknowingly carriers of the virus and to slow down the spread of the virus.
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Rules to follow while wearing an alternative mask:
- Put the mask on so that it covers the mouth and nose.
- Put it on carefully to limit the appearance of openings between the face and mask.
- Avoid touching the mask while wearing it.
- Do not touch the front part of the mask. Pull it off from behind.
- Wash your hands thoroughly after touching or removing the mask.
- Wash your cover daily at a minimum temperature of 60°.
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the mask is not a substitute for sanitary protection gestures, the strict application of which remains the most effective measure to stop the spread of the virus.