The rising coronavirus cases and their variants are posing a serious threat worldwide. While doctors are suggesting getting vaccines and boosters, there is no pause to the spread of the virus.
Omicron Being Highly Contagious, Cloth Masks Are Unsafe
The hospitals and the emergency wards are flooded with patients, the limited staffing is making the situation worse. Countries all over the world are imposing more and more restrictions.
Amongst all the variants of coronavirus, the omicron is the most transmissible and the most infectious virus. It affects even the fully vaccinated individuals and the individuals who have already had Covid-19. Not much information is known about the variant and scientists are still in the process of getting to know the viruses better.
To prevent the spread of omicron, precautionary measures to be taken include getting vaccinated, washing hands frequently, sanitizing, wearing masks, avoiding public gatherings, and maintaining social distance.
Face masks have become an indispensable part and parcel of our lives now. Different types of face masks have gained popularity in recent times to prevent coronavirus and omicron, namely varieties of cloth masks, surgical masks, N95 masks, KN95 masks.
Cloth masks are the most widely used masks, as they are much cheaper, easily available in different colors and styles, more comfortable, and can be made at home. They were used in large numbers during the earlier phase of the pandemic.
In an attempt to curb the spread of the disease, doctors and healthcare practitioners have stressed the proper usage of masks. The best masks are those that fit tightly sealing our mouth and nose, have nose wires so that the masks remain in place, and are made of highly filterable material. Hence, they are against the use of cloth masks to stop the spread of viruses.
As we all know, omicron being highly contagious, spreads when these virus particles enter our body through our nose and mouth. Health officials are of the opinion that cloth masks are not effective in preventing these microscopic particles from entering our bodies.
They are recommending the use of 3-ply surgical masks or high-filtration respirator masks such as N95 masks or KN95 masks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests the use of masks that can completely cover the mouth and nose and have good filtering capacity. These include N95 masks and KF94 masks. Surgical masks though better than face masks fail when it comes to fitting and filtering capacity.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health for quality recommends the use of N95 masks as they have the maximum filtering capacity amongst all masks of 95%. These N95 masks come in different sizes, making them convenient to use for children of all ages and adults.
Chairman of Emergency at Ascension Providence, Dr. Steve Mcgraw has one more option, which is to layer a cloth mask on top of a surgical mask. He advises never to use a cloth mask alone.
The usage of masks also depends on the location visited by people. While in less crowded areas, surgical masks can be used, overcrowded areas such as hospitals mandate the use of N95 masks.
With the number of coronavirus and omicron cases at their peak, it is the duty of the general public to adhere to the guidelines laid by doctors and scientists all over the world. Face masks have an important role in preventing the transmission of microns.
The efficacy of N95 masks has been proven by many healthcare experts. So, they serve as the best option in terms of usage not only by healthcare professionals but also by the common people. Many countries are providing free surgical masks to ensure the safety of ordinary people at places like offices, universities, hospitals, grocery stores, and railway stations.