As cases of covid-19 still rise, so many people are deciding to wear a face mask when out in public – but do they work? Help with face masks varies wildly among international health bodies and governments. The World Health Organization (WHO) currently only recommends face masks for people who are coughing or sneezing, or for people who are caring for those who are suspected to have covid-19.
In a few places like Lombardy, the worst hit region of Italy, Masks For Coronavirus are mandatory. Great Britain government doesn’t recommend widespread use of them, while since 3 April, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise that people wear “cloth face coverings” whenever they venture out – and even provide instructions for how to make one.
Area of the basis for recommending homemade face masks would be to reserve the limited supplies of medical face masks for healthcare workers, a number of whom have experienced to make use of covering with bin bags, snorkels and office supplies bought from craft stores as a result of shortages.
Some have been using cloth face coverings, but these aren’t approximately the task, says Raina MacIntyre at the University of the latest South Wales in Sydney.
In 2015, MacIntyre and her colleagues ran a clinical trial pitting cloth masks against medical ones. The team provided 1607 healthcare workers at 14 hospitals in Hanoi, Vietnam, with either disposable medical masks or reusable cloth ones, that could be washed in the home after the day these were worn. Those that wore cloth masks were significantly more prone to catch a computer virus, the team found.
But how about the rest people? In an attempt to answer this inquiry, Paul Hunter at the University of East Anglia, UK, along with his colleagues checked out 31 published studies on the efficacy of face masks.
Overall, evidence suggests there may become a small benefit to wearing some kind of face covering. They actually do seem to prevent sick people from spreading the virus, nevertheless the evidence is weak and inconsistent, says Hunter.
“Our view is the fact there was some proof of a diploma of protection, however it wasn’t great,” he says. “So we still don’t effectively know if face masks locally work.”
Hunter thinks there is enough evidence to back up mask-wearing for a few frontline staff, like those working in public transport or supermarkets, as well as vulnerable people who temporarily enter high-risk environments like hospitals – as long as his or her use doesn’t deprive healthcare workers of equipment.
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MacIntyre agrees, and states that until more medical masks become available, Masks For Coronavirus are worth using away from healthcare settings.
If you are going to help make your personal mask, there are several important points to remember, says MacIntyre. A powerful face mask is just one that fits well round the nose, mouth and chin, providing a seal that doesn’t let air in round the sides, she says. It should also remove particles that could include the virus.
Vacuum bags seem to be particularly good at this, according to a 2013 study that compared various household materials based upon their ability to filter bacterial and viral aerosols. Tea towels were reasonably effective, but linen and silk performed poorly.
Should you wear a mask, it is important to apply it properly. It is easy to contaminate your personal mask by touching or reusing it, for example. And don’t let wearing a face mask give you a false sense of security: you can bevggk become infected while wearing one, and washing both hands frequently is important whether you wear a mask or otherwise not.
Even if everyone followed these tips, it isn’t clear whether widespread utilization of Face Masks For COVID-19 would have a substantial impact on the spread in the virus. The WHO says it is “collaborating with research and development partners to better be aware of the effectiveness and efficiency of non medical masks”. “There’s just not many evidence for cloth masks in the neighborhood,” says MacIntyre.