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What you need to know about face masks

17 July 2020 10:34 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Did you know that the protective mask is in fact a strategic scientific device? The protective mask acts as a barrier preventing the Coronavirus harbouring aerosol droplets of saliva, phlegm and nasal exudates from entering a bystander’s airway. Further, the protective mask is a two-way barrier! The protective mask prevents both the exit and the entry of the Coronavirus and other microorganisms from you to others and vice versa. This is why health authorities insist on us wearing a protective mask to fully cover the mouth, nose and chin.
 
Types of masks
  • N95 Respirators and other FFP2/3 forms
A respiratory protective device is designed to achieve a very close facial fit and very efficient in the filtration of airborne particles. The edges of the respirator are designed to form a seal around the nose and mouth. There is little opportunity for airborne particles to leak in around the sides of the mask. And it can also filtrate small airborne particles more effectively. Moreover, a properly fitted N95 respirator usually filtrates pathogens in the air much better than a surgical mask. Therefore, this type of mask is commonly used in healthcare settings. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t recommend that the general public use N95 respirators to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses such as COVID-19.  Because, if they wore them without a snug fit, they can’t filter out small airborne particles that cause illnesses.
 
 
  • Surgical masks
A loose-fitting, disposable device that provides a physical barrier between the mouth and nose of the wearer and potential contaminants in the immediate environment. In order to provide this function proper surgical masks should have specific features including a three-layer design which has an outer fluid-repelling layer, a middle layer serves as a barrierto germs, and an inner layer which absorbs moisture and sweat from exhaled air. 
 
The outer layer is hydrophobic or is a fluid-repelling layer while the inner layer is to absorb moisture, as the air we breathe out contains moisture. The function of the blue/green layer is to prevent germs from sticking to it.  Therefore, the coloured side of the mask should be in outside with a mould and the metallic strip over nose bridge. The surgical mask should fit snugly over the face while the white side should touch the face and also fit snugly over the face. But, if you wear the mask the other way, the moisture from the air will stick onto it, making it easier for germs to remain there.
 
 
  • Non-medical mask
Non-medical or fabric masks are made from a variety of woven and non-woven fabrics, such as polypropylene. Non-medical masks are made of different combinations of fabrics, layering sequences. The combination of fabrics and materials results in different filtration and breathability. However, compared with the above mentioned two types of face masks, this non-medical masks have less effectiveness in filtering germs. 
 
 
How to discard used face masks properly
  • Wash the hands before removing the mask.
  • Do not touch the inside of the mask specially, the part over the nose and mouth since it may be contaminated from your breathing, coughing or sneezing.
  • Untie or remove the ear loops and remove the mask by the straps.
  • Throw the mask in the covered trash bin.
  • Wash your hands.

Children adviced to wear face masks

By Kamanthi Wickramasinghe 
With the habit of wearing masks, peadiatricians have observed a reduction in respiratory illnesses among children. “We have had very few cases over the past few months,” said Dr. Deepal Perera, Consultant Paediatrician at Lady Ridgeway Hospital. “However it is not advisable to wear masks when running as it may lower oxygen intake. But children should continue wearing masks as it could protect them from asthma and other respiratory illnesses,” said Dr. Perera. 

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