Surgical masks, N95 masks, respirator masks – it doesn’t matter what kind of mask it is, you don’t need it to protect yourself from the novel coronavirus and you shouldn’t wear them!
“The average healthy person does not need to have a mask, and they shouldn’t be wearing masks,” said Dr.Eli Perencevich, MD, a prevention specialist at the University of Iowa’s College of Medicine.
“There’s no evidence that wearing masks on healthy people will protect them. [If] they wear them incorrectly, and they can increase the risk of infection because they’re touching their face more often,” said the professor, as reported by Forbes.
But even if you know how to wear masks correctly, the bottom line is you don’t have to! You should only wear a mask if you’re sick. The coronavirus is transmitted through droplets, not through the air, so you can’t actually breathe in the virus. Surgical masks are designed to keep the droplets in and not out so their main purpose is to keep the wearer from getting others sick.
“The one time you would want a mask is if you’re sick and you have to leave the house,” said Dr.Perencevich. Another situation in which masks would be useful is when you’re caring for someone who has the virus, knowing that you will be in close proximity with that person frequently.
But N95 and respirator masks should be safe right? Nope.
In fact, 3M, a major mask and respirator manufacturer even admits that, “no matter how well a respirator seals to the face and how efficient the filter media is, wearers should expect a small amount of leakage inside any respirators.”
How does this increase the likelihood of you getting infected? Well, not using or disposing of a respirator mask could increase infection risk because you’re trapping all the stuff in the air you’re trying to stay clear of. It makes breathing a little harder, many people end up touching their faces absent-mindedly.
“Wearing a mask is tricky because it can create a false sense of security,” said the medical professional. “If you don’t wash your hands before you take off the mask and after you take off your mask, you could increase your risk.”
So what can we actually do to stay clear of the virus? Well, as much as this has been repeated time and time again, the best thing that you can do is wash your hands regularly with soap and water.
“Coronavirus is an ‘enveloped’ virus which means that it has an outer layer of fat [so] washing your hands with soap and water has the ability to ‘dissolve’ this greasy fatty layer and kill the virus,” said Karen Fleming, Phd, a professor in biophysics at Hohn Hopkins University.
So there you have it! Stick to what you know can prevent the virus guys, and stop buying these masks.