There is a pandemic in the world. How to protect yourself?
A new type of coronavirus can remain in the air for up to 30 minutes. Masks also greatly reduce the risk of catching an infection and infecting others.
When to wear a medical mask
World Health Organization experts recommend wearing a mask in two cases:
- If you are healthy but have close contact with a person who has signs of a respiratory infection: cough, fever, runny nose, sore throat.
- If you yourself have such symptoms.
The medical unit of the Hong Kong government portal complements this list. Experts insist that the face must be protected with a mask if:
- You were in close (at a distance of 2 meters) contact with people who at that time had or soon had signs of SARS. In this case, you should wear a mask for at least 10 days after this contact.
- You visit or work in hospitals or clinics.
- You have to spend time in crowded and poorly ventilated places: metro, cramped office, supermarket, small classroom.
- Your work is related to food or passenger service in public transport.
Which option to choose — from WHO or from the Chinese, decide for yourself, depending on the current situation.
Why is it better to wear disposable masks
Disposable masks are used for several hours, and then they must be thrown away. It is impossible to remove and then put on such a mask. Otherwise, you run the risk of spreading the infection through your face and surrounding objects.
Reusable masks are made of dense washable fabric, which manufacturers recommend washing in hot water in accordance with the instructions. These models look more profitable because you do not need to stock up on a whole stack of accessories — just one. But in practice, reusable masks are a bad option.
They cannot always be cleaned properly, and this is really a problem.
A 2015 study showed that healthcare providers who prefer reusable masks suffer from SARS more often than their colleagues who use disposable options. The reason is just the difficulty of cleaning.
Separately, we mention such fruit of progress as respirators. They are also disposable and reusable and in general, are a more reliable way of protection than conventional medical masks. But the American non-profit organization Consumer Reports, which is engaged in protecting consumer rights, warns: a respirator is difficult to wear so as to avoid leaks. For example, American healthcare professionals are required to take an annual test to prove that they know how to use the device correctly.
Summing up, the best way to protect yourself from coronavirus is with disposable masks. However, one should not forget that nothing can be more effective than quarantine and isolation.
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