Covering your mouth and nose is usually a nuisance. But according to the current state of knowledge, wearing a mask effectively helps to protect you against COVID-19. Why masks protect and which are the best to use? Let’s talk briefly about it.
At the beginning of the COVID 19 pandemic, it was unclear how corona virus passed on from person to person. The risk of so-called smear infection, for example from touching objects such as door handles, is no estimated to be less than it was then.
Most people seem to get infected with COVID-19 through the air. This is the reason to wear a face because it reduces the emission of viruses from the respiratory system and this lowers the risk of infection. The World Health Organization WHO also recommends that the mount and nose should be covered as a measure against the spread of this virus.
How does a mask protect against the spread of Corona Virus?
The coronavirus spreads via droplets of saliva and nasal secretions that are expelled when coughing, sneezing and talking, and so called aerosols that are produced when breathing out. This can also be the case if the person concerned has no symptoms or develops none at all.
With a face mask, the wearer protects those around him from infection, because it reduces the emission of droplets and aerosols. Aerosols are a mixture of air and tiny liquids particles. Most of these are smaller than 5 micrometers, so they can penetrate between the meshes of fabric masks. Vendors for face masks are now everywhere and from them, you can get yourself a mask that you think will be best for you.
A mask is still an effective against the spread of virus. It slows down the exhaled air flow with the aerosols. This reduce the concentration of potentially infectious particles in the immediate vicinity of the mast wearer. In contrast to droplets, aerosols can remain in the air for a long time or move over longer distances. You should therefore ensure regular ventilation and keep your distance, even if you are wearing a mask.
Which mask best protect against the corona virus?
How well a mouth and nose protection works also depends on the material. Scientists at Duke University in the USA compared the effectiveness of different face masks at holding back droplets when speaking. FFP2 masks without a valve to exhale performed best. They retained more than 99.9 percent of the droplets. In second place came surgical masks with more than 90 percent, followed by self-sewn cotton masks with 70 to 90 percent, depending on the number of layers of fabric and folds. FFP2 masks with a valve for exhalation act as a droplet brake like simple cotton masks and thus significantly worse than the FFP2 masks without a breathing valve. Scarves let through about half of the droplets. Best recommendation is to use respirators that allow you to breathe easily and keep you save from any virus.
A tube scarf made of polar fleece performed worst. With it, the number of droplets ejected was even higher than when speaking without any face covering.
Do "corona killer masks" actually work?
Some manufacturers and vendors of face masks advertise face masks with a special coating. They should not only hold back the corona viruses, but also render them harmless. Experts consider the technology behind it to be plausible. However, such masks do not offer 100% protection either.
Sensible hygiene, thorough hand washing and a conventional mouth and nose cover as well as sufficient distance are still sufficient as protection.
What are the benefits of transparent masks?
A correctly worn mouth and nose protection covers about half the face and thus also the facial expressions that take place there. For some people this is an essential problem; Deaf people can no longer lip-read what the other person is saying. Communication is also more difficult in childcare and care facilities if the workers there cannot express themselves through their facial expressions. Transparent masks are therefore offered as an alternative to mouth and nose covers and surgical masks.
On the other hand, people with severe breathing problems like impaired lung function, asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), wearing a mask can actually lead to problems. People who have a mouth and nose cover that makes breathing so difficult that their health could suffer are therefore exempt from the mask requirement. However, you should have a corresponding medical certificate or a severely disabled ID with you in order to be able to show evidence during an inspection.