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Face Masks: What Doctors Say About Their Role

Protection By Face Masks

Due to the Wuhan virus spreading across the world, the use of face masks might seem a good means of protection.

The N95 mask, which is a heavy-duty mask offers better protection (95% of airborne particles are blocked) but is uncomfortable to be worn for long periods as it gets difficult to breathe.

The more common and disposable surgical masks are comfortable to wear and are more easily available than the N95 ones, but offer meagre protection, especially against airborne pathogens.

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Face Masks: What Doctors Say About Their Role

Face Masks: What Doctors Say About Their Role

https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/01/29/800531753/face-masks-what-doctors-say-about-their-role-in-containing-coronavirus

npr.org

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Key Ideas

Protect Yourself Wisely

  • Cloth masks, which are reusable and washable, offer no real protection while being potentially harmful in case there is any moisture retention or dirt in them due to their being reused.
  • It is a good practice to wear a mask all the time, especially if you have any respiratory illness.
  • It is advisable to be careful while removing your mask, as a mere touch of your hands on the front of the mask can contaminate it.
  • It is also advisable not to touch your face or nose too much.
  • Constantly and frequently wash your hands, all year round, and get a flu shot, as it is flu season. While a flu shot is not a protection against the virus, it is still advisable to get one.

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The mask

The mask - a flimsy polymer cup - fits tightly around the face and is capable of filtering 95% of airborne particles, such as viruses, from the air.

The firsts masks were ...

Surgical masks

Doctors started wearing the first surgical masks in 1897. The masks were not designed to prevent airborne disease - that is still not the case today - but to prevent doctors from coughing or sneezing droplets onto wounds during surgery.

The first modern respirator

During 1920, a plague broke out between a shared jurisdiction of China and Russia. The Chinese Imperial Court brought in a young doctor named Lien-teh Wu that determined that the plague was not spread by fleas but through the air. He expanded upon the surgery masks he'd seen in the West, and made it from gauze and cotton and added several layers of cloth to filter inhalations.

When the Spanish flu arrived in 1918, the mask was well-known among scientists and the public.

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The new virus

They are a group of viruses that cause respiratory infections, including the common cold.
They can infect certain animals and spread from one animal to another. They can reach t...

The symptoms

Common symptoms: coughing, fever, and shortness of breath. Non-respiratory symptoms (feeling nauseous, vomiting having diarrhea) were also reported.
The virus is more violent with the elderly, the very young and with individuals that have a weak immune system. The majority of those infected however recover after a few days.

Spreading the virus

Coughs or sneezes from an infected person are the most likely to spread the virus. So it's essential to follow basic hygiene rules:

  • Wash your hand often during the day.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with your inner elbow or a napkin.
  • Don't touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with your hands.
  • Stay inside if you have any of the symptoms and avoid interacting with people that show signs of the infection as well.

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Helping others during a pandemic

Research shows that, whenever we help others, we help ourselves too. This happens because we focus on someone else's needs rather than ours, which enables us to feel less stressed and more conn...

Helping others while in quarantine

If you feel like helping others while you are forced to stay in self-isolation, here is some good news for you: this is totally possible. By making donations to hospitals, caring for doctors' children or creating opportunities of any kind for people to gather up virtually, you can not only make the ones around you feel less stressed but also give yourself a chance to rediscover the true meaning of the community and focus on something else but your own worries.

Seize the opportunity to help others

Volunteering has mostly positive effects for both sides. Being willing to take a risk of contracting a virus or just spending your free time helping others instead of focusing on yourself can actually pay off. Furthermore, volunteering can even feel as an easy task, provided that you control how much time you spend focusing on the others. Don't go overboard and everything will be alright.