Wear a mask to prevent catching omicron, but which mask?

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In light of the current worldwide omicron The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is considering amending its guidelines on masks so that the general public can wear N95 or KN95 masks and not fabric masks if they can tolerate them consistently, in line with the recent report.

Director of the CDC Dr. Rochelle Walensky confirmed that “the CDC continues to recommend that any mask is better than no mask. And we encourage all Americans to wear a well-fitting mask to protect themselves and prevent the spread of covid-19. And that recommendation will not change . “

CDC DIRECTOR ROCHELLE WALENSKY DOUBLES ABOUT STUDY ON DEFECTIVE MASK AT SENATE HEARING

However, she noted that “… we are preparing to update the information on our website about masks. … We want to provide Americans with the best and latest information to choose which mask will suit them.”

The 2020 CDC guidelines on wearing only canvas masks were originally based on concerns that N95 masks were too few, but that is no longer a concern, the report reports. to warn.

The CDC currently recommends that the general public wear canvas masks that have two layers of airy fabric that completely covers the mouth and nose, fits snugly around the nose wire to prevent air leakage from the top, while N95 masks should be reserved for healthcare only. workers.

But Michael Osterholm, who heads the Center for Infectious Diseases Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, disagrees: “This record that we’re trying to save N95 for health care workers just ran out date. ”

Understanding the difference: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

Understanding the difference: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

Understanding the difference: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

A recent study found that there is a wide range of pore sizes in the 20 canvas masks studied, ranging from 80 to 500 micrometers, but the particle size of COVID-19 is only 0.12 micrometers, which shows why some health professionals are in favor of masks with higher filtration standards.

N95 masks, approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, filter up to 95% of airborne particles, but have some drawbacks compared to canvas masks, including some that are harder to breathe, cannot be washed, are more expensive and are more expensive. should be discarded when soiled or damaged, he states CDC.

KN95 masks filter up to 95% of air particles, while KF94 masks filter up to 94% of air particles, but are certified only in China and the south Korea, with a CDC warning, 60% of KN95 masks sold in the United States fake. N95 masks have the usual shape of a duck’s beak, KN95 masks are in the shape of a tent, while KF94 masks in the shape of a boat.

N95 Mask: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health

N95 Mask: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health

The surgical mask blocks the droplets of large particles they may contain viruses in bacteria that it does not reach the nose or mouth, but “does not filter or block very small particles in the air that can be transmitted by coughing, sneezing, or certain medical procedures,” he says. Food and Drug Administration, adding: “Surgical masks also do not provide complete protection against microbes and other contaminants due to the loose fit between the surface of the mask and your face.”

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But dr. Monica Gandhi, an contagious a disease specialist at the University of California, San Francisco, said: “If you really don’t want exposure, you have to wear the right kind mask. ”

“If everyone wears only a canvas mask or just a surgical mask, this will not affect the current version of omicron,” she added.

According to a CDC report prior to the omicron outbreak, an uninfected person not wearing a mask can become infected within 15 minutes of standing within six feet of someone who is positive for COVID-19 and not wearing a mask. mask.

“Every mask is better than no mask. But canvas and then surgical masks are not as good as N95 caliber masks,” he said Ranu Dhillon, a physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

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Click here for current CDC guidelines on how to choose, wear and clean COVID-19 prevention masks.

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