People buy medical masks to protect themselves from the virus. Will such a preventive measure help?
Do disposable medical masks protect against flu and SARS?
Medical masks, formerly called, are designed to protect the respiratory system from viruses and bacteria. However, during the epidemic, this drug is not 100% effective: if the patient is in a closed room without a mask, a virus is already circulating in the air, which the bandage cannot delay.
Why put on mask mode and why wear mask?
Medical masks should be worn by a sick person so that saliva and sputum particles cannot access the airways of those around them. Therefore, if your colleague or relative coughs, give your mask, ventilate the room carefully, and even better – do a wet cleaning.
Which medical masks should I buy?
Pharmacies sell operational (daily) and surgical (specialized) masks. The simplest of them consist of 3 layers of non-woven material. In case of illness, they must be purchased to be worn in public places. Surgeons and medical staff use special four-layer masks that protect the skin from body fluids during operations, lab tests, and other procedures.
Which protection measure to choose instead of a disposable mask?
Is it dangerous to get a flu shot?
Today, most refuse vaccines because of the fear of complications. Of course, their probability cannot be ignored 100%, but it is rightfully considered one of the safest drugs. Vaccination does not make you sick, and mild side effects similar to flu symptoms (headache, runny nose, fever, body aches) disappear quickly.
Australian scientists said medical dressings do not protect against viruses and infections. In addition, it is impossible to use them when there is a high risk of charging (tuberculosis, intensive care work).
Experts from the University of New South Wales conducted a study involving 1.6 thousand health workers. The doctors were divided into three groups: some used masks made of fabric, others used masks made of non-woven materials, and participants in the third group could use the masks as desired. After long observations, scientists found that doctors wearing cloth masks were much more likely to have respiratory diseases.
It was also found that – 44% of disposable non-woven masks exceed 97% of the textured medical dressings microparticles. Scientists proposed to stop using fabric masks in medical masks. Non-woven masks are much more effective, although bacteria do not have an absolute barrier, but only 40% of germs exceed.
Scientists also explain that in Japan, where you can meet many people in medical masks on the streets of the city during the flu season, this is a gift to politeness and tradition. Japanese, with masks on their faces, as a rule, does not feel well already and does not protect themselves from others with the help of a mask, but prevents the spread of “viruses”.
When asked whether medical masks are useful, yes and no answers can be given. Yes – when the patient wears a mask, it can remove the sick person from healthy people to some extent and prevent the spread of infection. No – the mask cannot protect a healthy person from a virus or bacteria. The reason is the structure and features of human breathing.
When exiting the nose, the air has a temperature of about 36 ° C and 100% humidity. When it enters the environment, it cools and moisture condenses to form aerosols – small droplets. It is impossible to distinguish them with the naked eye, because the diameter of the droplets is from tens of nanometers to tens of microns, and the eye does not see objects smaller than 40 microns. Typically, every cubic meter of air that fills the building contains about ten billion of these particles.
In the patient room, many droplets can contain viruses or bacteria and can be found in significant quantities, because the size of the virus is about 10 nm, and for him a drop of micron is a city block for a person. This is normal: we get a lot of viruses and bacteria in every breath, and the immune system neutralizes them.
The mask cannot protect the respiratory system from small aerosol particles, especially viral particles. There are two reasons for this. Traditional medical masks consist of a very thin layer of non-woven material with large diameter fibers. The gap between them is tens of microns. Therefore, small aerosol particles do not notice the bandage.
However, there is a difficulty in passing the air through a wet mask. As a result, the mask is absorbed from the sides, where it does not fit tightly against the chin, nose and cheeks, so the resistance to air movement is lower. Thanks to these places, the exhaled air freely enters the environment and returns. Thus, small particles containing microbes penetrate the mask and jump easily.
Moreover, after a while, the mask itself becomes a bed of infection. The moisture of the inhaled air condenses on its fibers, in other words, the mask becomes wet and arises under favorable conditions for the growth of bacteria, including pathogens. Flu viruses also slowly accumulate in wet masks, so they should be changed every two hours and the old one needs to be destroyed.
Drops of saliva and sputum that occur when coughing and sneezing delay the medical mask. And in them, the concentration of pathogenic organisms and viruses (if a masked person is sick), of course, is much higher than a normal exhalation.
The low effectiveness of the medical mask to maintain a healthy person is evidenced by the fact that the frequency of infectious diseases increases among doctors. Therefore, he replaced the gauze dressings in infectious disease hospitals with special respirators that provide a high degree of protection.
In such respirators, air passes through a unique nanofiber high-performance FP material (Petryanov’s filter) created shortly before the war at the Scientific-Research Physical-Chemical Institute called. L. Ya Karpova. Different types of this material are designed for different uses. The coarse ones are used to protect against non-toxic aerosols, such as cement or coal dust. They exceed about a quarter of the particles.
High protection filters are made up of nanometer-thick fibers and can also protect against viruses. The most important is the breathing strip design that fits tightly and covers the person’s face, preventing air leakage. Such a professional respirator of a third degree of protection, for example, ShB-1 “Petal-200”, can protect a truly healthy person from infection.
However, the best protection is strengthening immunity, sports and protection.
Among the many tips given by experts during cold outbreaks, there are recommendations for wearing a medical mask. However, often these dressings are applied incorrectly, this only increases the risk of infection.
Disposable medical masks are designed to minimize the spread of infection. Moreover, it is believed that both infected and healthy people should accidentally wear them. Doctors insist that a medical dressing cannot protect against polluted air. The degree of leakage is up to 50%. The reason for this is that with a certain protection of the nose and mouth it still does not stick tightly to the skin, that is, it can pass any air. Therefore, in a room with infected air, a mask to prevent infection is ineffective.
Masks are recommended to be worn only by infected people, and not by healthy people. Thanks to the protection that minimizes the spread of pathogens by breathing, coughing and sneezing. Wearing the mask by a healthy person may increase the risk of infection, because under the mask, a suitable environment for microbes (hot, humid air) is created and can become more active if it goes under the dressing.
Medical masks can reduce the risk of spread to infections only if strictly following the rules of use:
The patient with respiratory infection should change the mask at least every 2 hours.
If the dressing is used to protect it against smog, polluted air and other things – you can use it for 3-6 hours.
All medical masks can be used only once, are personal protective equipment and cannot be used by two or more people.
It is not recommended to wear a mask continuously. Small crowds can shoot in the fresh air.
In the room, the mask on the infected person should be constantly.
It should also be remembered that infections caused by airborne droplets are not only transmitted by air. Pathogens can settle with dust, remain on door handles, plates and other objects, and remain on the skin of the hands. Therefore, the use of masks alone is not an adequate measure to protect against microbes in the environment. It is also recommended:
Do daily wet cleaning.
Usually ventilate the room where the patient is.
The patient is allocated for meals, towels and other personal belongings.
Wash your hands frequently with soap, especially after walking and in contact with the patient.