At Tacoma Elder Care, your safety and security are one of our biggest priorities.
As part of our commitment to helping you through these challenging times, we want to share important information you may find interesting or relevant. There seems to be a lot of confusion about masks right now, so here are some basic tips you may find useful.
During these challenging times, Bob Michaels is available for consultations in person, by phone, or using Zoom or Skype. Please contact Bob HERE to request a meeting.
The COVID-19 pandemic has sent many into a preventive panic, donning face masks as a sort of immunity accessory. But not all masks are created equal, and not everyone needs to be wearing one. Here’s what you need to know.
Do they help?
Yes, face masks are effective
Masks are one of many tools to protect against the transmission of viruses. One way you can catch a virus is by inhaling or ingesting droplets of respiratory fluid from someone who has it.
According to a 2013 study, the spread of a virus can be significantly reduced if people who have the virus wear surgical masks. And a 2015 study noted that surgical masks are a vital means of physical protection for healthcare workers when treating people who are sick.
Also, frequent handwashing is an incredibly effective way to protect yourself, since viruses can live on all kinds of surfaces (doorknobs, cardboard packaging, plastic, you name it) that you touch all the time.
What Masks Are Best?
To protect yourself from the coronavirus, there are two types of masks to consider: surgical masks and respirator face masks.
Surgical face masks are relatively loose-fitting disposable masks. They are FDA-approved medical devices, and many healthcare professionals, including dentists and doctors, use them when treating patients.
Only masks with a fine mesh can trap small organisms like viruses, and the masks you find at your local drugstore probably won’t do the trick. They also have to be worn correctly to be effective.
And face masks, no matter how effective, won’t protect your eyes — a possible target for airborne contaminants.
Respirator face masks, unlike surgical face masks, are certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the CDC to protect against large and small particles.
If they fit someone’s face to form a perfect seal, respirators can protect against airborne contagions like anthrax and tuberculosis.
This kind of mask is often referred to as an N95 respirator mask because it can filter 95 percent of airborne particles — including viruses and potentially toxic materials like paint.
Unlike surgical face masks, respirator masks have a rating system to designate how effectively they block out airborne contaminants. Some can filter up to 99.7 percent of small particles from the air, and those masks are given a 100 rating.
As tempting as it may be to mask up, it’s not always a good idea. The CDC does NOT encourage healthy people to wear face masks as protection against COVID-19 or any other respiratory illness.
Instead, face masks should be reserved for medical professionals and people showing symptoms.
The CDC also recommends healthcare workers mask up when treating those with the ordinary flu and any patients demonstrating symptoms of respiratory infections.
However, if you feel sick or live with someone who might be, wearing the right kind of face mask can help prevent you from spreading the virus to others.
How to mask
When it comes to preparation, we’re experts here at Tacoma Elder Care. Every day we help folks make sure they have everything in place in case an emergency happens. So, if you don’t have an estate plan, now would be a good time to think about putting one in place.
We recently posted another blog about these concerning times, you might also find helpful called, “These Are Very Strange Times,” which you can find HERE.