COVID-19 outbreak: Can medical masks prevent the spread of the virus?

The new coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread around the world, and Europe has become the "hardest hit" region. The main concern is how to protect oneself from infection.

Following the outbreak of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) in Wuhan, one of the most common sights in cities across China today is the wearing of masks to prevent infection. Medical masks were sold out in stores in no time.

However, in Europe, the hardest hit area of the epidemic, the number of people wearing masks is still extremely small.

How effective are medical masks, and if so, how should they be worn to achieve the best results?

What are the best masks?

First, some virologists in the UK are skeptical about how effective masks are in preventing airborne viruses.

However, there is evidence that wearing a mask can help prevent hand-to-mouth transmission.

In an interview with Chinese media, Yuetan Wang, an expert at Peking University, said that it is important to avoid using the same mask over and over again.

In addition, Yueh-Dan Wang highlighted that it is best to prevent this coronavirus without a mask with a ventilation valve, as it may allow the virus to accumulate locally.

It is better to use an N95 mask that is anti-fog. However, he said that even when wearing an N95 mask, it should not be worn for more than four hours at a time.

If the N95 mask is used continuously for a long time, it will cause lung damage and may lead to problems like emphysema.

Other prevention methods

In addition, as with any other virus, it is important to maintain good personal hygiene. The NHS in England recommends that people

1. Wash their hands frequently with warm water and soap, preferably for 20 seconds or more

2. Avoid rubbing their eyes and straining their nose as much as possible

3. Maintain healthy lifestyle habits

History of masks

Medical masks first appeared in the 18th century, but the public did not start wearing them until the Spanish flu pandemic of 1919.

Dr Carrington, of St George's Medical School at the University of London, told the BBC that medical masks have limited effectiveness in preventing airborne viruses and bacteria, most of which are transmitted through the air.

This is because the mask is loose, does not have an air filter, and does not cover the eyes.

But it can still reduce the chance of infection from "droplets" from coughing or sneezing.

At the same time, it also protects against hand-to-mouth transmission of infection.

According to a survey conducted in the UK in 2016, people touched their faces on average 23 times per hour, intentionally or unintentionally.


A comparative study done in a hospital-specific controlled environment showed that masks were as effective as a purpose-made respirator in preventing influenza, according to British virus experts.

Gas masks have special air filters in them that are used to combat toxic particles in the air.

However, if you are outside in the general population, the effectiveness of the mask is more limited, especially since wearing a mask for a long time is not an easy task in itself.

Other experts say that if people can pay attention to the following personal hygiene habits in their daily lives may be more effective.

For example, cover your mouth when sneezing, wash your hands regularly, etc.

Correct Method

Dr Jake Dunning, a specialist at Public Health England, also says that despite the perceived benefits of wearing a mask, the benefits of wearing a mask outside of a clinical setting are actually very limited.

At the same time, he said, it's important to know how to wear masks properly, to change them frequently, and to safely dispose of those that have been discarded.

Deng added that studies have shown that the longer people wear masks, the less likely they are to follow the proper way to wear them.

Therefore, experts say that if anyone is worried about the spread of the virus, the best way to prevent it is to do a good job of personal hygiene, especially hand hygiene and wear a mask for double protection.

About Jerry

There are only 24 hours in a day, so why not spend it in a healthy and happy way? So, I choose to spend it happily
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