Are surgical masks really safe? Meet N95 masks

healthcare

Photo Credit: Peshkova/iStock Photo

Surgical masks are in the news with COVID-19. Are they really effective?

Masks keep doctors protected

A surgical mask does an exceptionally good job of keeping pathogens away from entering a doctor’s nose and mouth.

However, for commoners, it is not as much effective

But one needs to understand that there is a difference between pathogens and viruses or viral particles. To protect one against viruses and viral particles one needs a mask that is more tightly fitted around the mouth and nose. And in the real world, that is outside the surgical centers, we come in contact with viruses more than pathogens

While it can serve the basic purpose, it would be wise not to expect that they would keep you 100 percent safe. The thing is, we all wear masks for various reasons, and some of us prefer to wear masks while we are sick, to prevent the transmission of communicable disease. They might help, but the best you can do is just avoid interacting with people, and stay at home. And, of course don’t forget to dispose of the mask once you are done using it.

There are better alternatives

You must have understood by now that having a surgical mask or face mask might help, but that being said, it doesn’t guarantee 100 percent safety. On the best days, a surgical mask would protect you against viruses being spread through the air, but not completely. The virus could still infect you. The virus that is being spread through the air can always enter your eyes, and be harmful. Perhaps, the air is not the only medium via which viruses are being spread. They spread through touch as well.

But in tandem with frequent hand washing, a report does suggest that wearing a surgical mask could possibly reduce the risk of getting a virus by 70 percent. You see, there still isn’t a 100 percent guarantee. You must have understood that they aren’t foolproof and wearing one does not make you invincible.

It’s the era of N95 mask

Now since we have been talking a lot about surgical masks, you clearly are interested. Now, if you are having confusing thoughts before buying a surgical mask, here’s bursting the bubble for you: buy an N95 mask. They have multiple benefits as they fit around your mouth and nose tightly, and that is why not only will it help you avoid pathogens but also viruses, unlike other masks.

However, for heart and lung patients, it’s not recommended as it makes breathing slightly more difficult. Reach out to your health care provider and ask about his recommendations before buying.

Final words

Surgical mask or N95 masks, both won’t serve your purpose if you fail to follow the basic principles of cleanliness. These masks are an added measure, which if taken will definitely ensure advanced safety but without basic safety, it will render useless.

When it comes to health, your daily hygiene must be of prime importance: washing hands at frequent intervals, taking bath daily, avoiding contact with people who are sick, and staying indoors if you are sick.


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