Based on the latest update from the CDC (04/08):
- Total cases: 395,011
- Total deaths: 12,754
- Jurisdictions reporting cases: 55 (50 states, District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands)
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
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
Other Things You Need to Know About Coronavirus
Air Purifiers Work For COVID-19?
The virus responsible for COVID-19 is roughly 125 nanometers or 0.125 microns in diameter. Many people are wondering whether air filters featuring HEPA filtration can capture the virus effectively. The size of the virus falls within the size range that HEPA filters seize with remarkable efficiency. According to this NASA study, HEPA filters are effective at capturing the tiniest of particles meaning they can help remedy the situation.
Air purifiers, although an expensive alternative to other protective methods such as the use of masks are great at not only containing the virus, but also other things such as odors, chemicals, microorganisms, and bacteria. Having said that, this does not mean that you are of utmost safety when using an air purifier. As scientists and researchers continue to research about the coronavirus, it is important to do your part and exercise caution.
Should I put on a mask in public?
According to the CDC, the routine wearing of respirators or masks in public or low-risk areas isn’t advisable. Often, the transmission of the virus from one person to another happens through close contact (6 ft.). Some of the preventive measures the CDC recommends include avoiding using your hands to touch nose and eyes, keeping off close contact with a patient confirmed of the virus, and always covering your sneeze or cough using a tissue.
For the sick ones, avoid mingling with the public or visiting people in hospitals. It is prudent to quarantine yourself by staying indoors.
How is N95 different from other masks (read facemasks or surgical masks)?
Well, many factors inform the difference between a surgical mask and an N95 mask. The latter basically minimizes your exposure to tiny, airborne particles. It could be the larger droplets or smaller particle aerosols. N95 masks are tighter than surgical masks. Facemasks feature loose-fitting hence making them inappropriate to wear particularly when visiting high-risk areas. However, when in low-risk areas, you can wear them.
Not everyone can put the N95 respirators. This is especially true for those with breathing or respiratory issues.
The main use of facemasks or surgical masks is for source control. A person with a confirmed/suspected coronavirus case ought to put on a mask until he or she is secluded at home or in a medical facility. Once he or she has been quarantined, there is no need to wear a mask.
Is PM 2.5 mask recommended for COVID-19?
PM 2.5 particles are a sophisticated combination of different pollutants. They highly tiny particles can be lodged easily into your body. While PM 2.5 masks can be effective at preventing other things such as mist, and smoke, they are not ideal for protection against COVID-19.
I’m visiting a high-risk area, what do I need to wear?
If you are visiting a high-risk area such as an airport or hospital, you MUST put on the N95 mask coupled with goggles.
I suspect I have COVID-19, what gown, mask or protective gear should I use?
If you are a patient with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, you need to put on disposable and nonsterile patient isolation gown. This protective gear is often handy for routine patient care within the healthcare setting.
Any difference between coveralls and gowns?
Gowns, unlike coveralls, are more effortless to take off and put on. Coveralls offer 360-degree protection as they are tailored to protect the entire body, from the lower legs to back, feet and head. Isolation/surgical gowns do not offer the entire body protection., as they feature openings at the back. In most instances, they cover the mid-section part only.
The other difference between the two has to do with heat stress generated. Gowns generate less heat stress in comparison to coveralls because of several factors. Chief among the factors is that their design has an opening coupled with its fabric material.
I recently traveled from a high-risk region. What do I need to do?
If you traveled to high-risk countries such as Iran, Italy or parts of China within the last two weeks, you should restrict contact with people for up to two weeks. Remaining at home and self-isolation helps minimize risk by a huge percentage. Contact the relevant authorities or government departments within twenty-four hours of arrival for guidance.
In the unfortunate event that you fall sick, these steps should be handy:
- Check yourself into the nearest medical facility
- Wear a mask
- Keep off close contact with individuals in long-term care centers and hospitals, particularly senior citizens as well as those with delicate immune systems or chronic conditions
- Keep your visitors off your home
- Always cover your nose and mouth with your arm (dubbing style) when sneezing and coughing
- Rather than running errands, opt to have supplies delivered. The delivery guy needs to drop off 2-meters from where you are