There is a question: do medical masks protect against microbes
How effective are antimicrobial “politeness” masks designed to prevent the spread of bacteria carried through the air? If you ever thought about it, and if the design seemed too simple for you to protect at all from anything, we perfectly understand you. On the other hand, scientists say that these masks can obviously be useful. In which cases – we tell right now.
Studies show that an already infected person who wears a mask will at least help protect against other diseases (which is important, since immunity is extremely vulnerable at this time). Other research suggests that if you are among sick people, but are perfectly healthy themselves, the mask is also capable of protecting you. Simply put, this really makes sense – but not every day, but only if you yourself are sick, or during periods of maximum infection.
In his column for Well (The New York Times), MD, Richard Klasco (Richard Klasco) recalls that medical masks appeared in the operating room in the late 1800s. They quickly became popular in a society that wants to protect itself from the 1918 flu pandemic. And a century later, molecular technology has confirmed that surgical masks can indeed provide good protection against infections transmitted by airborne droplets.
In a 2013 study, for example, scientists calculated the amount of viral particles in the air around patients with influenza. Checking the work of the mask, they found that the “gadget” reduces the inhalation of large drops by about 25 times. However, the masks, alas, proved to be less effective against small droplets, able to stay in the air longer and, therefore, more infectious. Their inhaled amount when using a mask was reduced by only 2.8 times.
It is also known that medical masks are very good at protecting a person who cares about a patient. With the example of 446 nurses, Australian researchers have managed to prove that they almost as well protect a healthy person as a respirator – a somewhat more high-tech device used in hospitals. The research team suggested that at home, the risk of infection of a person who wears a mask is reduced by 60-80%.
If you do not have a mask or you do not want to wear it, then try to stay at least two meters from the infected person. So, doctors say, your chances of staying healthy are much higher. Well, do not forget that washing your hands is crucial, because touching your fingers with bacteria to your eyes, nose, or mouth can very quickly “reward” you with an infection.