What experts agree on
How masks work
Basically, there are two major types of masks.
Surgical masks fit loosely in front of your mouth and nose. They are good at protecting others from droplets leaving the wearer’s mouth and offer some protection if someone sneezes or coughs around you. Again, because they are not airtight, airborne particles (particles that hang in the air) can still enter your mouth or nose when you breathe. From what we know so far, it is still not clear whether COVID-19 can be spread through airborne particles; WHO has put out information stating that this is not an airborne virus, but there is data that it can be aerosolized.
There are a bunch of studies to show that face masks can be effective at preventing infection among healthcare staff in the hospital setting, even compared to N95 respirators. During the SARS epidemic one study found that 0% of healthcare workers that wore a surgical face mask or respirator got infected (7% of those who wore a DIY paper mask did get infected).
When it comes to the general population in the “real” world, it’s much harder to say. Studies looking at face masks to prevent the spread of infection among family when one member was sick found that people were not consistent about using them, took them off after a few hours, and may not have done all the other things (like handwashing) to protect themselves. But in situations where people did follow instructions and wore the masks appropriately, there did seem to be a benefit in reducing the spread of infection.
When it comes to N95 masks, they are only as effective as the seal. So, ideally, healthcare workers should be wearing them with a complete seal, especially if they are doing high-risk procedures. If they are not worn correctly and are not tightly sealed, there seems to be a very limited difference for healthcare workers (and by extension, the general population) between wearing a surgical mask and N95.
What to know if you want to make a DIY mask
After the H1N1flu pandemic of 2009, researchers at Cambridge University tested a whole range of household materials for DIY masks using particles both larger and smaller than the size of the new coronavirus.
Where can I buy face masks in Kenya?
- Imagine Care Shop is offering surgical face masks, dust masks, M3, N95, etc.
- UK Meds is offering FFP2 (N95-equivalent) surgical face masks.
- Pigiame is offering a variety of masks.
- Amazon also offers a variety of different face masks, with the surgical models available.
- You can also get masks from Jumia.
- eBay also sells a variety of surgical face masks.
What is the best practice for using face masks?
- Masks do not work forever and should not be reused.
- The WHO adds that masks should be removed if they get wet, and the front should not be touched.
- Once you have covered your mouth and nose with the mask, you should ensure there are no gaps between it and your face.
- As well as this advice on masks, the NHS says other methods to help prevent the spread of the disease include putting tissues in the bin straight away, covering your mouth and nose with your sleeve (not hands) when you sneeze, washing your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water often and avoiding people who are ill.
- Dr. Nilsen concludes: “Good hand hygiene is a prerequisite for any facial masks to work as the hands are needed to place the mask correctly over the mouth and nose.
- “Any virus particles on the hands would be transferred to the mouth, nose or eyes when putting on the facial masks if not washed and disinfected beforehand.
- “N95-facial masks can be additional protection for those at risk but must never replace good hand hygiene practices.”
What about wearing a mask during the COVID-19 pandemic?
The key is to remember that all of the other recommendations still stand: don’t touch your face, wash your hands, and dispose of the face-covering safely without contaminating yourself. While some do disagree about the role of face masks in protecting the general public from COVID-19, all experts agree that the main ways to protect ourselves are frequent, vigorous handwashing, disinfecting high-touch surfaces, keeping a distance of 6 feet from others, and staying away from sick people. Additionally, the main way that the general public can help during this pandemic is to maintain social distancing and stop going out for anything “non-essential.” To order for all types of masks, kindly contact +254737898884, +254759292158, +254789231328, +254742448334, or drop an email to .