Since the beginning of the historic COVID-19 pandemic, one of the most debated topics has been protective respirator masks and whether they help slow the spread of the disease.
At the pandemic’s start, there was little evidence to prove or disprove the effectiveness of wearing protective respirators in slowing the spread of this particular coronavirus because COVID-19 was a new disease. Furthermore, little research focused on the transmission of respiratory diseases during a global pandemic of the magnitude of COVID-19, once-in-a-lifetime global disaster. Naturally, there was little data on the efficacy of the best respirator mask use during these exact circumstances.
Researchers in one study urge people not to infer from reading studies:
Several authors have justified not wearing protective respirators masks for four main reasons. First, they claim that there is limited evidence that they are effective. The first argument can be questioned on the basis that the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, in health professionals who are in direct contact with people with suspected or diagnosed COVID-19, the Ministry of Health SUGGESTS the use of the best respirator N95 mask.
Protect lives with by wearing the best respirator!
Some of the best respirator masks are designed to offer significant benefits in preventing the transmission of influenza viruses or other respiratory viruses. However, its cost is considerably higher. N95 masks may not be available in health centers in a prolonged pandemic, so it is advisable to rationalize their use.
The protective respirators mask is additionally beneficial for personnel who perform medical procedures such as tracheostomy, manual ventilation with an auto inflation bag or non-invasive mechanical ventilation.
The protective respirators may be more useful when the risk of transmission is lower, such as in the usual care of people with respiratory symptoms or without aerosol-generating procedures.
The group of specialists consulted considered the research evidence presented and their clinical experience and issued their judgment on the question, with which the recommendation was subsequently elaborated.
Coronavirus: Recommendations for the use of protective respirators
Protective respirators are useful to prevent the spread of viruses such as COVID-19. To take advantage of them properly, the Ministry of Health, supported by the main directives of the World Health Organization (WHO), has shared guidelines that can help guarantee their effectiveness in the face of the current pandemic.
Keep in mind that protective respirator masks are only effective when combined with frequent hand washing with soap and water. In addition, to comply with current regulations in the framework of the COVID-19 pandemic, which requires its use when leaving home, you must learn to use and dispose of it correctly.
It is also important that you distinguish surgical masks from N95 respirators. The latter is for the exclusive use of health professionals, as their effectiveness depends on a more complex level of knowledge, and they are vital to protect them from COVID-19.
The use of masks is mandatory in the following cases:
- If you must leave home
- If you must care for someone suspected of COVID-19 infection
- If you have a cough or sneeze
- Suppose you must enter an establishment with a risk of crowding (shopping centers, galleries, department stores, basic goods supply stores, supermarkets, markets, warehouses and pharmacies). In that case, you must use a double mask
Follow these 4 steps:
- Wash your hands
Wash your hands with a good quality anti-bacterial soap and water for at least 20 seconds before putting on the mask.
- Put on the protective respirators
Make sure to evenly cover your mouth and nose securely with the protective respirator mask, leaving no gaps.
NOTE: do not touch the mask with your hands. If you do or accidentally touch it, wash your hands and face immediately with soap and water (or an alcohol-based disinfectant). This immediate action will prevent from spreading the virus to other surfaces.
- Remove the mask
After using it, remove the protective respirators by grasping it from behind without touching the front. You must dispose of it in a closed container. Never reuse single-use ones.
- Wash your hands, again
After disposing of the mask, wash your hands again with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to reduce the risk of contamination while wearing it.
Check the mandatory social immobilization schedules that you must respect from November 1 to 14, 2021, according to the Alerts where you live.