Based on the latest update from the CDC (05/14)
The most susceptible groups are the elderly, those already suffering from a medical condition and folks lacking social safety net. Healthcare professionals have recommended several strategies to minimize the risk of contracting the virus. The most basic is to avoid panic. Fear does more harm than good.
Before looking at some of the ways you can prevent yourself and your loved ones from contracting the virus, it is prudent to first have a look at how it spreads. Human coronaviruses affect the lungs, throat, and nose. The viruses can be transmitted through any of the following means:
- Respiration droplets produced upon sneezing or coughing
- Close and extended personal contact like shaking hands or touching
- Touching something containing the virus then using the same hands to touch areas of entry like the eyes, nose or mouth
Wearing Face Masks Can Protect You From Coronavirus?
Wearing the wrong mask or putting it on incorrectly does not offer protection at all. Therefore, you need to make the right decision when it comes to your choice of mask.
Another effective way of avoiding getting harmed by the tiny Coronaviruses either in the air or from a person is by wearing a mask. Masks are available in different specifications, brands, price tags, and types.
PM (particulate matter) 2.5 remains the longest within the atmosphere. This matter is responsible for plaque deposits in the arteries, lungs, throat, and nose. In the most severe cases, it can cause a heart attack.
Masks are more important to the infected folks. For the infected ones, they combat the transfer of drops related to respirational infections. For instance, when you wear a mask, you prevent yourself from coughing onto your hand, meaning even when you shake someone’s hands, chances of transferring the virus are minimized. Simply put, putting on a mask interrupts or halts transmission.
Can you use any mask? No! The most effective ones are biological grade types. While they are costlier than others, they do a good job of preventing transmission. One of the major drawbacks of the other masks, such as the surgical ones, is the fact that they become damp from your breathing. This means that if an infected person was to cough on them, it can really make matters worse.
Particulate respirators are handy when it comes to preventing the breathing of airborne particles. Currently, NIOSH has classified masks into three main groups:
Each of them boasts three unique efficiency possibilities – 100, 99 and 95.
N100, N99, and N95 are the three models of the N-series. These masks are not oil resistant. Because of this, they offer protection against both liquid and solid aerosol particles without oil. Common examples of non-oil based solid matter consist of ‘dust’ particles from non-oil-based liquids, pollen, wood, metal, flour, iron ore, and coal.
The N-series masks have been handy during the coronavirus pandemic. The N100, N99, and N95 constitute the N-series. The only difference among them is the efficiency level of their filter. The higher the rating, the more particulate matter the mask is able to filter out.
When it comes to coping with the Corovid-19, the most commonly used mask is the N95. One of the attributes you need to note about respirators in this series is that they lack a non-specific shelf life. What this means is that you can utilize them provided you do not damage them or there is no detection of breathing resistances.
N95 vs. N99
The only difference between N95 and N99 respirators is the fact the former filters up to 95% of particulate matter while the latter blocks up to 99% of particulate matter.
Of all the masks, the WHO (World Health Organization) recommends a military-grade N95 mask as the most efficient and dependable for protecting against the stubborn Coronavirus. In addition to helping block viruses and bacteria, these masks also protect users from inhaling the tiniest of particles.
A great highlight about these masks is that they firmly fit your face, unlike others. On top of blocking tiny particles, they are also efficient anti-pollution dust respirators. They feature the science of layering and biotechnology combines to guarantee the utmost standard protection.
Some masks on this series feature valves that are handy for air exhalation. With the valves, the last thing you have to be worried about is moisture accumulation close to your eyes or nose bridge.
The N95 respirator stands out as the most popular among the 7 types of face masks for particulate filtering. The NIOSH has approved certain products to act as N95 masks. The FDA has also cleared the same products as surgical masks. They go by the name Surgical N95 masks.
N95 and N99 masks for coronavirus come in an array of styles, shapes, and colors. Some brands and styles fit users better compared to others. Some shapes or styles are more comfortable. Provided your desired mask is NIOSH-approved and meets all the OSHA requirements, you are good to go. It should be able to protect you against the virus in spite of style, shape or color.
P100 and P95 are the two models of the P-series. These masks are almost the same as the R-series ones. For starters, they are oil resistant meaning they offer protection against liquid and solid aerosol oil-containing particulates. The only difference with the R-series is that these boast a longer service life. NIOSH recommends their disposal to be after a month or 40 hours of use.
R95 is the only model of the R-series. These masks are oil resistant. As a result, they offer protection against liquid and solid aerosol oil-containing particulates. NIOSH certifies its use for only 8 hours. Because of these restrictions, they are the least commonly used.
K-series is a standard commonly applied in Asia. KN95 and KF94 are Korea and China standards respectively. The KN95 respirator is the equivalent of the European FFP2 and American N95. This means that it filters up to 95% of particulate matter with a 0.3 micrometers diameter. The mask can offer protection from PM 2.5, PM10 and even tinier particles.
KN95 boasts a state-of-the-art carbon filtration tech coupled with an improved electrostatic microfiber to offer protection against any of the following:
- Germs and bacteria
- Fragrance and odor
- Animal allergens
- Automobile smoke and exhaust
Note: The FDA has certified KF94 as capable of blocking PM 2.5. It is also handy at blocking the entrance of germs and viruses. Just like their name suggests, they can block particles up to 94%.