As the Chinese Wuhan coronavirus continues to spread, officials in China are urging citizens to wear masks in public to stop the spread of the virus but cities in China as well as other parts of Asia are reportedly running out of face masks.
How good are masks to keep you from catching the virus?
The experts don’t yet know exactly how the virus is transmitted, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending that health care workers treat it like an airborne pathogen germs that can travel in particles and droplets in the air. For health care workers interacting with a coronavirus patient means to wear a heavy-duty mask called an N95 respirator. These respirators are designed to fit tightly around the nose and mouth, and, when worn correctly, block out at least 95% of small airborne particles following the Centers for Disease Control advise.
But wearing an N95 respirator is serious business, says Dr. William Schaffner of Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Health care workers who use these respirators are required by law to undergo an annual fit test — a check to make sure the mask forms a tight seal on the wearer’s face so that contaminated air can’t leak in at all. Although N95s are disposable, workers must also demonstrate that they know how to put on and wear the model that they are using the right way.
Before selecting your mask or trusting its use consult your doctor and verify that it will protect you.
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