Most people have this question on their minds because of the current COVID-19 pandemic. Do antiviral face masks keep your healthy? In this article, we are going to answer this question from different perspectives. Read on to know more.
According to the best evidence available, if you are sick, you can protect others from getting sick by wearing a mask. Similarly, if you are around sick people, you can protect yourself from the virus. However, keep in mind that these masks can't offer 100% protection against viral infections.
By the end of 1800s, surgical masks, aka courtesy masks, became quite common for doctors to use in the operating rooms. Their popularly was sky high in the beginning of 1918 during the influenza pandemic that took the life of over 50 million people over a course of three years.
Around a hundred years later, molecular techniques proved that the surgical type could offer strong protection against the flu. Aside from this, another study helped researched counter the virus particles found floating around the patients infected with the flu virus.
The researchers found that the surgical type reduced the emission of big viral droplets by 25 folds. However, these products are less effective when it comes to keeping away tiny viral droplets that stay in the air for hours.
The surgical type offers strong protection just like respirators. Unlike the regular masks, respirators are specially designed devices that can protect you from flu. However, you can't use them as they are designed for use in hospitals only.
According to Australian investigators, if you put on a surgical mask, your likelihood of catching a virus infection goes down by at least 60%. However, this statement is valid only if you are in a home environment. When you are outside, the protection level drops significantly.
However, the problem is that the majority of people doesn't wear a mask properly in order to protect themselves. Moreover, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is skeptical about wearing these products outside hospitals and other health care facilities.
For now, there are no recommendations for the use of these masks for asymptomatic people. And this includes even those who are more prone to complications. This statement is published on the agency website.
So, what should you do? If you don't want to put on any type of mask, experts suggest that you should stand a minimum of 6 feet away from a person who is already infected. This will increase your chances of keeping your safe against the infection. So, it's better to stand or sit at least 6 feet away from the person you are talking to.
Apart from this, you may want to wash your hands more frequently. This is important as your hands may transmit the virus to your body through your mouth, nose or eyes.
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