The increase in positive cases of the new coronavirus all over the world has made it common to find people wearing respiratory mask when walking on the street (those who take the risk, since the recommendation is to stay at home and go out only when really necessary) – a custom that was previously observed with more frequency only in Asian countries.
Now, the medical portfolio recommends that even people without symptoms wear respiratory mask filter subscription when leaving their homes to go to the market or pharmacy. The change came after Chinese studies showed that a large number of infections happen from asymptomatic people, who could throw contaminated droplets into the air when they speak, for example. The mask with PM2.5 filter would then act as a physical barrier for these larger particles.
Who should wear a mask? It’s because?
Currently, everyone who comes out of isolation must wear respiratory mask – preferably with PM2.5 filter, to leave specific protective equipment for healthcare professionals who are fighting covid-19 in hospitals.
Although experts and scientific studies point out that those who do not have respiratory symptoms do not need to wear masks, the Ministry of Health changed its recommendation and started to advise everyone to leave the house wearing a respiratory mask (of common PM2.5 filter), to prevent precisely asymptomatic people from transmitting the virus without knowing it.
But be careful: this use does not mean that the other preventive measures – washing hands with soap and water, social distance, avoiding putting your hands on your face – should be left aside.
What type of mask is most recommended for coronavirus cases?
Since the pandemic arrived in the country, two masks are in high demand:
- Disposable surgical with PM2.5 filter: Made of a material called “nonwoven”, it is the most popular, found in pharmacies.
- N95 reusable mask: It is designed for healthcare professionals, as it prevents the passage of small contaminating particles, such as aerosols (usually expelled during the process of intubating or aspirating the patient).
At this time, the recommendation is that the population make improvised masks at home with thick fabric and PM2.5 filter for protection and leave N95 mask, the specificmasks for health professionals or those who provide services to the public in supermarkets, pharmacies etc., as these items are in short supply.
What is the N95 mask?
It is a type of respiratory protection mask that has a greater filtration capacity, retaining particles that the ordinary surgical mask cannot. In industry, it is recommended for workers who work in areas with toxic vapors, for example; in the health area, it is recommended for professionals who are involved in procedures with risk of aerosol generation.
According to Health Care Department, the N95 mask (or equivalents, such as PFF2) has a minimum efficiency in the filtration of 95% of particles up to 0.3 microns.
But be warned: given the lack of material on the market, the official recommendation is that these masks are used only by health professionals.