Complete vaccination with COVID-19 dramatically reduces the chance of hospitalization and death from illness, but Shot does not completely eliminate the risk of infection.
As a result, health professionals continue to encourage people to take other precautionary measures, such as wearing masks to benefit from additional protective layers during a pandemic.
But more than a year and a half later, what did scientists learn more about the ability of masks to control the spread of the coronavirus? And even with the emergence of more dangerous variants, are the mask types initially recommended by health authorities still effective?
Mask guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention went on an unstable path earlier this year, when authorities announced that fully vaccinated people could throw away masks in all scenarios, regaining it and “substantially. It is necessary to wear a mask indoors in a public area in a typical area “or high transmittance. The CDC has updated its recommendations following a surge in coronavirus cases caused by delta variants.
Unvaccinated or weakened immunized people should continue to wear appropriate masks indoors in public. Masks are usually not needed outdoors, except in areas with high COVID-19 cases.
In general, the CDC states that masks require two or more layers of “washable, breathable cloth” that completely covers the nose and mouth. It “fits snugly on the sides of the face” tightly and uses a wire that bends over the nose to prevent air leaks from the top.
This criterion can include cloth masks. surgical mask, Homemade and with clear plastic panels, facilitate easy communication. The CDC says that cloth masks that make breathing difficult, exhalation valves or vents, and masks that use N95 labeled as a “surgical” or “medical” mask to prioritize healthcare professionals should be avoided. Stated.
Proceed carefully with homemade masks and cloth masks
If you decide to continue wearing multi-layer homemade or cloth masks, experts recommend washing them daily. However, please proceed with caution.
In a study published in July 2020, Respiratory droplets After passing through a homemade cloth mask, I moved about 2.5 inches, about 8 inches with a cone-style disposable mask, and a little over my feet with a folded handkerchief in a laboratory setting. However, with Bandana, the cough droplets moved about 3 feet 7 inches. This was the worst except without the mask, but it had the highest number of threads compared to the other covers.
There are two tests that Dr. Roy Chemaly, an infectious disease specialist at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas, calls “flow and glow” to measure the quality of masks.
One is to hold a lit match or candle about 6 inches in front of your face and try to blow it off while wearing a mask. If the flame goes out, you may need to upgrade your mask. Another test is to expose the mask to bright light. If you look through it, your mask may not be thick enough to block respiratory droplets from other potentially ill people.
According to a September survey of about 350,000 people in rural Bangladesh, villages assigned to wear surgical masks received COVID-19 in eight weeks more than villages without masks. It turns out that the chances of developing it are about 11% lower. Protection for people over the age of 60 has increased to 35%.
In villages with cloth masks, there were fewer cases of COVID-19 than in villages without masks, but researchers at Stanford and Yale University found that surgical masks can better filter bacteria. Consistent with the studies shown, he said, “the difference was not statistically significant.” However, cloth masks have reduced the likelihood that Bangladeshi residents will experience coronavirus symptoms during infection.
“Our study provides strong evidence that wearing a mask can prevent the transmission of the infection. [the coronavirus].. “This also suggests that filtration efficiency is important,” said Dr. Stephen Ruby, a co-author of the study and a professor of medicine at Stanford University, in a statement. Cloth masks are certainly better than nothing. But now it may be a good time to consider upgrading to a surgical mask. “
It is important to note that surgical masks are not designed for reuse. “If it’s damaged or dirty, or if you have difficulty breathing through the mask, you’ll need to remove the mask, safely dispose of it, and replace it with a new one,” said the US Food and Drug Administration.
Surgical masks can also lose their effectiveness over time. A study published in July 2020 found that even people with a mild cough can expel droplets up to 3 feet from their mouth due to internal pressure when wearing a surgical mask. rice field.
Do you need to double mask?
When the delta variant began to dominate all other versions of the coronavirus in the United States, some Health expert People have suggested wearing two masks-a cloth mask on top of a surgical mask. The CDC has never officially mandated a double mask, but authorities have included it in their updated recommendations.
A CDC study released in February found that not only wearing a cloth mask over a surgical mask, but also tying an ear ring to fix the surgical mask puts a healthy person at risk of getting the coronavirus 95. It turned out to decrease by more than%.
Some experts say it’s okay to wear the two maskHowever, as long as your single homemade cloth or surgical mask meets the standards set by the CDC, you should benefit from some protection against coronavirus infection.
© 2021 McClutch Washington Bureau Library.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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