The recent coronavirus outbreak has people all over the world taking various preventive measures in order to avoid catching the infections. One of the most common practices is wearing different kinds of facemasks in public.
However, the health expert from the University of Cincinnati, Sergey Grinshpun, has now stated the wearing a mask may not be as helpful as the majority of the people and health authorities think it is.
Grinshpun, who is also the director of UC’s Center for Health-Related Aerosol Studies, has tested and looked at respiratory protective devices including a variety of different facemasks in protection against biological agents for nearly thirty years.
Currently, Grinshpun has been consulted to check the matters on the coronavirus infection spreading globally at a very fast rate. On the increasingly worrying issue, he says “When some major outbreak happens such as one with coronavirus or SARS or Ebola there is a lot of misinformation,”
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In addition, he adds “This relates to respiratory protective devices and what device to wear and also what protection level or efficiency you are paying for. People want to have something very light and comfortable, and they usually don’t like military-style full-scale respiratory protective systems to carry around.”
Furthermore, Grinshpun states that facemasks as indeed helpful for people who have already been infected. This is because the practice is mostly for preventing the droplets from coughing and sneezing from falling on other people.
Thus, it is precisely from protecting other people from getting infected as well. For people who are not infected and trying to cut down the risk, wearing a mask may not offer that many benefits.
Secondly, the majority of the people choosing to wear a mask may not even wear it properly. Grinshpun explains that the N95 filtering masks are actually highly effective in protecting from ninety-five percent of airborne particles if they are worn correctly.
This is why major hospitals, as well as big offices, have tests specifically for mask fittings in order to use the masks correctly. On the other hand, normal people typically are not aware of the correct way to wear particular masks.
Lack of knowledge on how to wear a mask can also reduce the ability of the mask to protect against environmental factors and the coronavirus infection. Grinshpun explains the importance of fitting in a mask in the words:
“When you put the respirator on your face you must make sure it fits. For instance, the nose clip was designed for a reason and must be used correctly. If not, particles penetrate through face-seal leakage and the N95 respirator may not offer the level of protection expected by its manufacturer.”
It should also be kept in mind that while a mask will be able to protect from very large droplets from coughing and sneezing, it will not be able to safeguard from aerosolized particles.
Additionally, the droplets through which viruses travel evaporate over time and the particles decrease in size. Then, they are able to penetrate through the masks eventually. Therefore, keeping the fitting in the mind and how well they are able to protect should be noticed especially during the coronavirus outbreak.