Countries impose mask mandates to keep their people from wearing masks in public. This a mitigating measure to keep them from contacting coronavirus. As the number of deaths and positive cases continues to rise, people are resorting to the most trusted mask; the N95 mask. However, the N95 mask is experiencing scarcity.
With the scarcity of the N95 mask, people now resort to an alternative; the surgical mask. Prior to the pandemic, the surgical mask is the go-to mask for most medical workers. Be it having a dental check-up or performing any operation, a surgical mask is trusted. Now that the pandemic is on, the surgical mask is the second most in-demand protective mask, next to the N95.
For starters, the surgical mask is commonly used in hospitals. A surgical mask has a blue exterior and white interior that are both water-resistant. The elastic straps of a surgical mask on both ends are wrapped around the area of the ears. Some surgical masks have four long straps that are adjusted to appropriately secure the preferred fit. A surgical mask is only good for one-time use. Meaning, the used surgical mask has to be disposed of properly every after use.
How does a surgical mask work?
Most of the surgical masks are made from polypropylene polyester. This non-latex material provides convenience to anyone who wears a surgical mask. A surgical mask does not trigger any irritation or allergic reaction. A surgical mask has 3-ply protection. The outside layer surgical mask prevents the wearer from contacting any form of liquid substances and small to medium-sized particles. The inside layer of the surgical mask prevents the wearer from further spreading unknown bacteria that are present from the wearer’s breath. Also, the inside layer of the surgical mask is capable of holding liquid substances from the wearer such as saliva, mucus, and blood. The middle layer of the surgical mask is a non-woven fabric that does the filtration process.
Despite the ability of the surgical mask to filter particles and bacteria, a surgical mask is still not comparable to the N95 mask. Since the surgical mask is a loose-fitting mask, the danger of leakage is higher than the N95. However, another alternative has been created to decrease the level of leakage and to further strengthen the wearer’s defense. Wearing a face shield has been an emerging response.
What is a face shield?
A face shield is a protective material made from plastic or Plexiglas, curved to cover the area of the face. This protective material has an attached headband so that it can be worn on the head. This attached headband secures a tight fit so that any leakage from the head is preventable. Also, some face shields have an absorbent pad included to trap sweat and prevent it from entering the mask.
Would wearing a face shield protect you enough?
According to medical experts, wearing face shields alone would not be a great choice. Droplets of liquid substances like mists can still trigger the system. However, wearing a mask like the surgical mask underneath, it increases the chance of protection against mists. A face shield is additional protection to further protect the wearer.
Should you be wearing a face shield?
Without a face mask, the trapped droplets from a sudden cough can still trigger your system and could further lead you to respiratory conditions. It may protect others but it cannot protect you.
With a surgical mask underneath, yes. The droplets that are blurted out from a sudden cough can be filtered by the surgical mask. These droplets can no longer spread because it is trapped and filtered.
Would a face shield be good for daily use?
Without a surgical mask underneath, a face shield alone is not a viable option to make it daily protection. On a daily basis, a face shield does not provide enough protection like a surgical mask does. Contact with people is high and a face shield is not enough.
A face shield would be enough for daily use if you are wearing a surgical mask underneath. The surgical mask will protect you. The surgical mask offers additional protection especially either when you are dealing with people or the risk of interacting with people is high or social/physical distancing is absent or not observed. A surgical mask will aid you to limit the chance of infection.
Who should wear a face shield?
Adults and teenagers can wear face shields with a surgical mask underneath. The fit is right for these people and the face shield does not fall easily. Infants are neither allowed to wear a face shield nor wearing a surgical mask. The Center for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) does not recommend the parents to let their infants wear any form of protective equipment for this can obstruct the breathing cycle of an infant.
A face shield is effective when a surgical mask is worn underneath. The surgical mask acts as an additional layer of protection. But if you do not wish to wear a face shield, a surgical mask will do. But this is applicable when you are observing social/physical distancing measures. With the absence of the N95 mask, a surgical mask is the best option in the market. The surgical mask may not be as effective as the N95 but it can still give you the protection needed in this pandemic. A surgical mask is even better than a cloth face mask. With the filtration ability of a surgical mask, it surely can protect.