Can putting on a medical face mask protect you against the new coronavirus? It’s an issue so many people are asking, including dog owners who definitely are putting canine face masks on the dogs. If it’s an ordinary surgical face mask, the reply is no, Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, told Live Science.
A more specialized mask, known as an N95 respirator, can control the 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, at the very least not at this point. That’s because, partly, it’s challenging to use these masks and wear them for long periods of time, he stated.
Specialists receive retraining annually concerning how to properly fit these respirators across the nose, cheeks and chin, ensuring that wearers don’t breathe around the edges in the respirator. “When you do that, it turns out that the work of breathing, since you’re going through an extremely thick material, is harder. You need to work to breathe inside and out. It’s a bit claustrophobic. It can get moist and hot inside,” Schaffner said.
“I know that I can use them when I need to for approximately a half-hour,” he added. “However, I will need to go out of the isolation room, remove it and try taking a little deep breaths, kind of cool off, before I can go back in.”
Even though it still might be easy to snag an N95 respirator online, Schaffner advised against it. If a lot of people unnecessarily stockpile respirators, a shortage could put the healthiness of medical workers and people who need them at risk, Schaffner said.
Surgical masks – The thinner surgical mask is meant for surgeons, because 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, such as Japan and China, it’s not uncommon to find out people wearing surgical masks in public places to guard against pathogens and pollution. But those masks don’t help much within the context of the virus, Schaffner said. “They’re not made to keep out viral particles, and they’re not as tightly fitted around your nose and cheeks” as being an N95 respirator, he explained.
“Could they be of some use? Yes, however the effect will probably be modest,” Schaffner said.
He noted that some people wear surgical masks as they are sick using a cold or the flu and they also don’t need to get other individuals sick. However, if you’re sick, it’s best just not to visit public areas. “That’s time to stay home,” Schaffner said.
People sick with COVID-19, however, should wear face masks to reduce the chance of infection to folks around them, according to the CDC. Health care workers and those “looking after someone infected with COVID-19 in close settings (both at home and in a healthcare facility),” also needs to wear face masks, the CDC reported.
People wearing surgical masks should dump them after each use, the CDC added.
Otherwise, the simplest way to avoid getting the coronavirus is to, above all, postpone any travel to places with known outbreaks. You can also thoroughly wash your hands with soap; avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth xfsvee unwashed hands; avoid close connection with individuals who are sick; and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, the CDC recommends.
As for pet owners putting face masks on their own dogs, a Pomeranian dog in Hong Kong tested positive a “weak positive” for COVID-19. That dog is currently in quarantine, however is not showing symptoms of the disease, based on a March 5 piece inside the South China Morning Post. However, it’s unclear how the dog was tested for your 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.