December 29, 2021 – Are you still wearing a rag protective mask?
For background: N95 respirators are tight-fitting masks that cover your mouth and nose and help prevent contact with drops and tiny particles in the air of people talking, cough, sneezing, and spread in other ways. Usually worn by healthcare professionals and first responsible, these masks can filter up to 95% of air droplets and particles, according to in the CDC.
But recommendations to opt for N95 and 3-layer surgical masks masks over canvas are nothing new, says Leana Wen, MD, emergency physician and professor of public health at George Washington University.
In fact, public health experts have been calling for tighter mask protection for months.
“Better masks are needed not only with Omicron, but also with Omicron Delta, it was with Alpha before that, ”says Wen. “We have known for months that COVID-19 in the airand therefore an ordinary cloth mask will not cut it. ”
Here’s what you need to know about them patronizing masks.
They are necessary
Omicron is expanding much faster than previous variants of COVID-19. How’s it going? three times more likely to expand as Delta variant, wearing masks is currently paramount, says Anita Gupta, DO, assistant professor of anesthesiology and critical care and pain medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
The quality of the mask is also important, Wen says.
“Double masking, including a cloth mask that fits snugly on top of the surgical mask, adds extra protection, ”she says.
“Ideally, though, people should wear N95, KN95 or KF94 when indoors near other people with unknown vaccination status.”
If wearing the N95 mask causes extreme discomfort, wear it in highrisk crowded environments, such as crowded restaurants and busy commuter trains, Wen says.
“If you’re in a store, there’s plenty of room and ventilation. You may not need the N95, ”she says. “I recommend that people purchase different masks and practice with them in low-risk environments before going public in a high-risk environment.”
But people should wear 3-layer surgery mask at least.
Three-layer surgical and mask quality N95
With 3-layer surgical masks, fitting the mask is often more of a problem than its comfort, Wen says.
But there are ways to adapt these masks, especially for those with smaller heads.
“You can put a rubber band around the ear loops and make them a little tighter,” Wen says. “Some people have found that using hairpins is another way to keep loops in place.”
Another important tip about 3-layer surgical masks and N95: ovi masks can be reused.
But how many times you should use them varies, Wen says.
“As an example, if you are sweating a lot, and the mask is really wet now, ”says Wen. “Or if you put it in a purse or backpack, and now it’s deformed and you can’t put it back to fit your face, then it’s time to throw it away.”
Protection comes first
For some, canvas masks have become a kind of statement, with people wearing their favorite logos NFL team, or maybe even a fun animal print.
But one should always keep in mind the purpose of wearing a mask, Wen points out.
“Wearing a mask is very functional and is aimed at reducing yours probability from the COVID infection, ”she says. “People should also use methods that inspire them, but for me it’s a purely functional exercise.”
Wearing masks is not always comfortable, but it remains crucial in protecting people from COVID-19, in particular the elderly and other high-risk individuals, Gupta says.
“There is a lot of research and experts working hard to stop COVID-19,” she says. “It’s important for all of us to remember that wearing a mask alone doesn’t make us safe.”
“We all also need to wash our hands often and stay away from people.”