Face mask during the covid-19 pandemic
Various types of face masks are in use during this crisis of coronavirus. We know that viruses might be the smallest organisms present in the environment. The normal size of viruses ranges from 0.25 microns to 0.4 microns. In the case of the novel coronavirus, its size is around 0.1 micron.
- The cotton mask is only useful to cover your face from dirt and dust. It is not useful against micro-organisms.
- Standard surgical masks have a porosity of diameter ranging from 0.3- 10 microns, which is much larger than the size of coronavirus. Thus in this sense, it is really not that effective.
- N95/KN95 masks signify that for particle size 0.3 microns, the filtration rate is 95%. So, in this sense, these masks without filters are the most effective ones to protect people from the coronavirus.
Even though the above statements conclude that KN95/N95 masks( without filters) are the best to use, many factors hinder their effectiveness.
- Due to the worldwide pandemic of coronavirus, there is a shortage of KN95/N95 face masks in the market. Also, these masks are necessary for the medical representatives; not for the common people.
- Since these masks are expensive, people believe that those are the best masks to wear. So, people tend to overuse those disposable masks by washing them periodically. This also increases the chance of infection.
- Since these masks have many layers, it is thick. This creates difficulty in breathing especially for older people. Thus they pull their masks down from time to time to take in the fresh air.
- Do not waste the available face masks. There is a shortage of masks in the market.
- If you want to wear a mask, then 3-ply will be your best choice.
- Medical representatives should wear KN95/N95 masks without filters. They can wear it continuously not for more than 8 hours.
- After use, dispose of it safely in a dustbin. You can also treat the masks with 1 percent of sodium hypochlorite before their disposal.
- Sanitize your hands prior, and after the use of face masks.