AS SPAIN SETTLES INTO ISOLATION WILL A FACE MASK REALLY KEEP THE CORONAVIRUS AT BAY?
WEARING a face mask is certainly not an iron-clad guarantee that you won’t become ill as viruses can also transmit through the eyes and tiny viral particles, known as aerosols, can penetrate masks. However, masks are effective at capturing droplets, which is a main transmission route of coronavirus, and some studies have estimated a roughly fivefold protection versus no barrier alone.
If you are likely to be in close contact with someone infected, a mask cuts the chance of the disease being passed on. If you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, or have been diagnosed, wearing a mask can also protect others. So, masks are crucial for health and social care workers looking after patients and are also recommended for family members who need to care for someone who is ill, ideally both the patient and carer should have a mask.
The demand for surgical face masks in China has reached a cumulative 200 million masks a day. Images on social media show vast numbers wearing them in public and in transport hubs such as airports and train stations where there are large crowds.
The virus has also led to an influx in YouTube tutorial videos showing people how to make their own masks.
If people are worried about contracting infectious diseases there are more effective measures to be taken including good personal, respiratory and hand hygiene.
It is advised that people to frequently wash their hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or warm water and soap, cover their mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue when sneezing or coughing and avoid close contact with anyone who has a fever or cough.
It also says to seek early medical help if they have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, and share their travel history with healthcare providers.