Covid: Is your mask good enough to stop Omicron?

Covid Mask
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Quality of masks: Omicron is believed to be the fastest-spreading variant of SARs-CoV-2 so far.

Experts believe it will continue to affect people across the globe, at least for some more time. What we can do to stop it– wear masks whenever stepping outside.

Hence the importance of wearing masks cannot be underestimated.

Apart from that, social distancing and avoiding large gatherings is also very important.

However, there still remains a lot of confusion regarding the most effective masks against Covid-19 and its other variants.

Many people can still be seen wearing cloth masks. But experts say that they may prove ineffective against filtering particles.

Through the cloth masks, tiny droplets can be inhaled through the gaps near the nose and cheeks.

Scientists world over opine that cloth masks are effective only for larger particles.

Cloth masks vs N95 against Omicron

On the other hand, surgical masks are better than cloth masks, they still lack protection against the Omicron variant.

A cloth mask alone may not be useful. During the first wave, there was a shortage of N95 masks for healthcare workers and lab professionals.

But when it comes to a three-layer surgical mask and cloth mask together, are effective.

Since the Omicron variant is highly transmissible, the protection offered by cloth masks is non-existent.

In fact, it may also contribute to further spread as it may give a false sense of security with reference to transmission and protection.

As per the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the N-95 mask/respirator have a filter efficiency of 95 per cent or more against particulate aerosols.

Moreover, the FDA of US states that an N95 mask is a respiratory protective device designed to achieve a very close facial fit and very efficient filtration of airborne particles.

According to the revised guidelines of the Ministry, for home isolation, a Covid-19 patient should, at all times, use a triple-layer medical mask. They should discard the mask after eight hours of use or earlier if the mask becomes wet or visibly soiled.

N95 masks help to filter even minute particles. According to the MoHFW, masks should be discarded after cutting them to pieces and putting them in a paper bag for a minimum of 72 hours.

One should clean hands after disposal of the mask. And avoid touching your own face, nose or mouth.

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