#Covid19: Which Mask To Wear And Why

| Updated: January 9, 2022 1:55 pm

Covid rise is taking on an aggressive route. Thursday saw 4,213 new cases reported in Gujarat alone. And while vaccines remain the answer, many argue the efficacy of vaccines in dealing with newer variants. Meanwhile, masking up seems to be the only way out. However, experts opine that cloth masks are not a judicious choice.

Listed below are safer mask bets:
N95 masks

According to a survey published in Centre For Disease Control And Prevention, a tightly sealed N95 mask provides up to 2,500 hours of protection. In this case, only 1 percent of particles enter the facepiece. On the contrary, a loose-fitting N95 will bar infection for 25 hours, after which, if in close proximity to a carrier, it is possible to be infected with the same.

According to Dr Mona Desai, chairperson, Women Wing’s Indian Medical Association: “Health workers do not have a choice. N95 is mandatory. If you are working indoors, a surgical mask is effective but not if you have to step out. The surgical mask should be doubled up with a cloth mask. Cover your nose; that’s the most important thing.”

Is it advisable to wash your N95 mask?

As Hardik Shah, physician at CIMS Hospital, Ahmedabad explains: “If you are using public transport or attending a public gathering then N95 mask is a must. Many people wash and re-wear their N95 masks but it is not advisable. It reduces the effectiveness.”

Surgical masks

The transmission time of corona virus from a person wearing a surgical mask to non-infected person wearing a surgical mask is one hour. If the non-infected person is wearing N95, it will take five hours to catch the virus. On the other hand, a cloth mask will protect only for 40 minutes. After which, the virus will make its inroads.

Cloth masks

It will take 27 minutes for an infectious load of the virus to transmit between people wearing cloth masks. If the non-infected person is wearing a surgical mask it will take 40 minutes, wearing N95 will prolong the time span to 3.3 hours.

No masks

Two persons not wearing masks will lead to virus transmission in 15 minutes, if one of them is covid positive. If the non-infected person is wearing a cloth mask it will take 20 minutes, a surgical mask will safeguard for 30 minutes but N95 mask will protect for 2.5 hours.

People with beards and facial hair:

Beards can make masking up difficult. People with beards can do one or more of the following:

  • • Shave their beards.
  • • Trim their beards close to the face.
  • • Use a mask fitter or brace.

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