With coronavirus rampant all across the US, CDC recommends that everyone wears face masks. Following are different types of face masks used to prevent COVID-19: -
· Cloth mask: -
CDC recommends that everyone should wear face masks to protect themselves as well as others from COVID-19. This is especially critical in places where 6 feet distance is difficult to maintain such as grocery stores. Caution must be observed with people who have breathing difficulties. Also, children below two years of age who can have trouble in breathing with the mask on and cannot take off the mask themselves should not wear mask. These masks must be washed thoroughly after every use. Make sure that you do not touch your mouth, eyes and nose while putting on and taking off the mask. It must be kept in mind that wearing a cloth mask does not guarantee that you will be protected against the virus. Strict adherence to hygiene practices and social distancing is a must to prevent COVID-19. Cloth masks are recommended for healthy people who are not showing any COVID-19 symptoms.
· Surgical mask: -
These are more effective in preventing COVID-19 than cloth masks. Surgical masks are loose-fitting masks that cover nose, mouth and chin. They prevent large particle droplets and infectious respiratory secretion from going into the body of the wearer through nose or mouth. These flat and rectangular masks have folds with the top containing a metal strip to cover the nose. Elastic bands on the sides are looped behind the ears to fix the mask. Surgical masks are recommended for people who are showing off COVID-19 symptoms. Such people must wear surgical masks to protect others from their infectious cough and sneeze. Likewise, those who are taking care of sick people either at home or the hospital staff must essentially wear surgical masks. Surgical masks are disposable and must be discarded properly after use. Make sure your hands are cleaned thoroughly with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer before you put on surgical mask.
· N95 respirator mask: -
This is the most effective of face masks available to combat COVID-19. This specialized mask has the ability to filter out 95% of airborne minute infectious particles along with the larger droplets, splashes and sprays. This circular mask has a tight fitting on face blocking the passage of virus and bacteria. It holds onto the face firmly with the help of elastic bands. In the current situation where to buy N95 respirators are short in supply, CDC does not recommend to use them outside healthcare settings. These critical supplies must be reserved for healthcare workers.
How to wear N95 respirator: -
Before donning the N95respirator, clean your hands thoroughly. Make sure the mask is defect-free and unused. Place the mask in your palm with the nose piece at your fingertips. Put the mask on your face covering your chin till your nose. While still holding the mask, pull the top strap over your head bringing it to the back of your head. Likewise pull the other strap over your head bringing it to your back of neck. Adjust the straps to bring the mask low on your nose. Now with both your hands, press the nose piece to adjust according to the shape of your nose. You can check the mask fit by pressing the mask completely with both your hands. Exhale sharply without disturbing the position of mask. If you notice any air leak around your nose, you need to adjust the nose piece further to prevent it from happening. If the air leaks from the edges you need to adjust the straps to give a tighter fit.