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The coronavirus pandemic is declining so far, but experts say the virus will be with us in the coming months, if not permanent. This means that wearing the right type of mask and wearing it correctly will continue to be important for the foreseeable future.

The biggest consideration that public health authorities agree on is appropriate. The mask should fit your face like gloves.

“The main points are: The mask works, fits well, and works when worn properly,” said Rochelle Warrensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at the White House briefing in February. I mentioned in. 10.10.

But that leaves plenty of room for questions.

Which type of mask is most effective? How do you double mask? Is it worth buying the type of N95 mask worn by frontline healthcare professionals?

With that in mind, we talked to a trio of experts about the right and wrong ways to wear a face mask.

General drawbacks

Jose L. Jimenez, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Colorado at Boulder, said there are two main issues people need to be aware of when choosing a mask: filters and gaps.

“Some masks and filters people have are of poor quality,” he said. “People cut T-shirts and wear bandanas. Even if the air passes through the filter itself, many of the virus particles don’t stick to the filter, they just do.”

According to Jimenez, N95 masks, surgical masks and three-layer fabric masks all provide excellent filters.

Other issues with finding the right mask have more to do with the user’s face. For example, people with facial hair often have a hard time finding a mask that fits properly.

The problem is that even the small gap between the face and the mask allows outside air to enter. “Because it takes much less effort to pass through the gap instead of a filter,” he said.

“We rarely see people in the streets actually wearing masks correctly,” he added. “Most people have large gaps around the nose and on the sides of the surgical mask, which is a big problem. They may be wearing masks that are filtering 90 to 95 percent of the virus, but they Wear them so that only 40 percent are filtered. “

He said one test was to take a deep breath. When you do, the mask should shrink and come into contact with your face.

Wearing a cloth mask over the surgical mask can minimize some of these gaps while providing a solid filter.

What to do and what not to do with double masking

The CDC also recommends double masking, as long as it is done in a very specific way.

For example, wearing two surgical masks is not an effective way to double the masks, said Pierre Herquez, a professor of molecular science at Arizona State University. A good technique is to wear a surgical mask covered with a cloth mask.

“This has two advantages: more material is passed through, which improves filtration … and at the same time, most surgical masks don’t fit very well, which improves the fit,” he said. Told. “Wearing one of these tiny holes creates these tiny holes, but putting a cloth mask on top helps to push your face.”

It is also important not to reuse masks that are not designed for multiple applications. Surgical masks are single-use, and if they work, virus particles can stick to the outside. This means it should be handled with care and should not be worn more than once, Herckes said.

Cloth masks can be reused, but should be washed each time to avoid possible transmission of the disease. When buying a cloth mask, always look for one with multiple layers, Herckes advised.

Is the mask effective against variants?

The presence of so-called variants of the new coronavirus in Nevada provides another good reason to wear a mask and makes the double masking option more attractive, and of UNLV’s School of Public Health Epidemiology and Biostatistics. Assistant professor Brian Labus said health.

“It’s even more important now to double the mask, make sure you’re wearing it properly, and provide protection against the spread of new strains whenever you’re around others.” He said. Really, all you have to do is tweak your mask to suit the virus that spreads more easily than you’ve ever dealt with. “

N95 mask

The CDC does not recommend the use of N95 masks to the general public, but some people who want to be as secure as possible may want to upgrade.

The two biggest benefits of wearing an N95 mask are that it has a very efficient filter, fits snugly on the face when properly worn, and has two straps that wrap around the head rather than a loop that slips through the ears. Is to be.

One major drawback: Most N95 masks are designed for one-time use. And they can be expensive: a pack of 20 N95 masks can cost you over $ 90.

Another option is the KN95 mask. It is similar to the N95 and is also intended for single use. KN95 masks, like N95, filter small particles, but are manufactured in China and are not certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), which regulates face masks in the United States.

Approved for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration, KN95 masks usually have straps that fit the ears rather than completely wrapping the head, increasing the risk of air gaps.

The CDC recommends that future buyers look for KN95 masks that meet the same requirements set by NIOSH for N95, but some KN95 masks do not.

Also, be careful when upgrading to either type of cell. Due to the high demand for high quality masks, many counterfeit N95 and KN95 masks have emerged nationwide, including some government orders.

The National Institute for Occupational Personal Protection, which is part of NIOSH, updated its website this month, How to find a fake N95Includes caution for devices with no markings on the facepiece or with respiratory organs that are misspelled by NIOSH.

Shield, neck gaiters, bandana

While any mask is better than no mask, bandanas, gaiters, and other makeshift facial coverings are generally less useful, experts say. Bandanas, for example, are inefficient because they allow large amounts of air to escape and create many gaps.

Face shields provide additional layers or protection to protect the eyes, but they have no effect when worn without a mask.

“What I see people doing a lot with face shields is where they are instead of masks,” Helkes said. “And the face shield is definitely not a mask, as the air just circulates around the face shield when you breathe. In fact, it has very little ability to protect you.”

What professionals wear

You may be wondering, Jimenez said his personal mask choice was a reusable type of embomask with an N95 filter that provided a consistent and snug fit. ..

Herquez said he usually wears a KN95, and Labs wears a two-layer mask and wires to improve the fit around the nose.

For most people who don’t want to invest in higher quality masks, double masking in the right way is said to be the best option.

Please contact Jonadilan at [email protected] To follow @TheJonahDylan On Twitter.



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