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Covid-19 epidemic - can medical masks like N95 or KN95 prevent the spread of viruses?

New coronaviruses continue to spread globally, and Europe has now become a "severely affected area." The question people are most concerned about is how to protect themselves from infection.
After the outbreak of the New Coronavirus in Wuhan, one of the most common sights in cities of all sizes in China is that everyone wears a mask to prevent infection. The KN95 medical masks in the stores were sold out instantly.
However, in the current epidemic "Eastern" Europe, there are still an absolute minority of people wearing masks.

How important is it to wear a medical mask and if you wear it, how do you wear it to achieve the best results?

First, some British virologists are skeptical about how effective it is to wear N95 masks to prevent airborne viruses.
However, there is indeed evidence that wearing a mask helps prevent the source of infection from passing from hand to mouth.

Peking University expert Wang Yuedan said in an interview with Chinese media that he should avoid using the same mask repeatedly.
In addition, Wang Yuedan specifically mentioned that it is best not to use a mask with a vent valve to prevent this coronavirus, because it may allow the virus to gather locally.
It is best to use N95 masks that prevent smog.However he said that even when wearing a N95 mask, the time should not exceed 4 hours at a time.

Mask History

Medical masks first appeared in the 18th century, but the public did not wear masks until the Spanish influenza outbreak in 1919.
Dr. Carrington of the University of London ’s St. George ’s School of Medicine has said that medical masks have limited prevention of airborne viruses and bacteria, and most viruses are transmitted by air.

This is because the mask is loose, there is no air filter, and it cannot cover the eyes. However, it can still reduce the chance of "droplet" infection caused by coughing or sneezing. At the same time, it can also protect the spread of infection from hand to mouth.

According to a survey conducted by the United Kingdom in 2016, people touched their faces 23 times an hour, on average, intentionally or unintentionally.

Effectiveness

British virus experts said a comparative study conducted in a hospital's specific control environment showed that masks are as good as a purpose-made respirator in preventing influenza.
There is a special air filter in the mask to deal with toxic particles in the air. However, if you are outside the general population, the effect of the mask is relatively limited, especially since wearing a mask for a long time is not an easy task.

Other experts said that if people can pay attention to the following personal hygiene habits in their daily lives, it may be more effective.
For example, cover your mouth while sneezing and washing your hands frequently.

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