How Effective are Face Masks to Prevent Coronavirus?

With a national shortage of surgical face masks, it is important to understand if you should be wearing a face mask and if they are effective at all to prevent coronavirus.  Large retailers including Amazon, Home Depot, and Walmart all are running low on masks with restock dates as far out as 2 to 3 months.

As everyone is on a more heightened alert about the spread of germs, it is important to make sure you understand the importance of creating hygienic routines to keep yourself and others healthy. The novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19 is a family of viruses, which mainly affects the respiratory tract or the gastrointestinal tract of a human being. The word corona translates to the crown, denoting the form in which the coronavirus appears under a microscopic scan, in the shape of a crown.

Why Should Surgical Masks be Used?

As a preventive measure against the coronavirus, institutions such as the World Health Organisation have advised and recommended  that people to use surgical masks for the following reasons:

  • While looking after a sick person.
  • When going outdoors with a large group of people, there is a risk of getting infected with the virus.
  • To prevent the transmission of the virus between animals and humans.
  • While staying in close contact with anyone with cold, fever or flu-like symptoms,
  • While visiting an animal shelter or going near a farm or stray animal.
  • Children should wear it to schools if they feel unwell.


Should I Be Wearing a Mask?

With a national shortage of surgical face masks, it is important to make sure you qualify as a person who can wear and purchase face masks in a state of emergency. The following people are qualified to wear face masks.


Healthcare Workers

People employed and healthcare and advised to wear face masks to perform their job.


People Taking Care of Sick and Elderly

People who are healthy and are taking care of sick people who have or are suspected to have COVID-19 or exhibit flu-like symptoms should wear surgical masks.


Sick People

People who are coughing or sneezing due to a weak respiratory tract should also wear a mask when they are outdoors or in a public area, to avoid spreading the flu to people around them.

Notice from the U.S. Surgeon General

The Surgeon General has made a public announcement stating that people should avoid buying surgical masks as it can lead to a depletion. Masks are not recommended to be worn by healthy people, who are not experiencing flu-like or coronavirus symptoms. It is not an effective course of action against protecting oneself from getting infected with the virus. On the contrary, the shortage of the masks can cause a shortage of supplies that health care departments would require for people that are sick.

If you do not fit the characteristics of one of these people above, you probably should probably not be buying face masks. The national face mask shortage is serious and is causing people that need masks to be sent home from work and not provide the proper health care to their patients.

Instead of wearing a face mask you can start daily routines to maintain a hygienic lifestyle. People should disinfect their hands at regular intervals, with alcohol-based soap and water. Clean commonly-used items like doorknobs, remote controls, couches, and more. Small cleansers and/or sprayers can be stored at homes, offices, and schools, to remove the contamination from the surfaces and frequently used objects.


Where Can I Buy a Surgical Face Masks?

Should you qualify as someone that should be using face masks, you can buy surgical masks from retail stores like Walmart and online retailers like Amazon, eBay, and more.

It is important to mention that people should be aware about the misleading, dubious products that claim to provide protection against the virus. Thousands of products have already been removed from Amazon and other retailer websites because of their false claims of curing coronavirus.


For anyone who wears a mask in order to fight against the coronavirus, it is important for them to keep a few important points in mind:

  • A single use mask should never be reused.
  • The mask should be thrown away as soon as it gets damp.
  • Masks should not be touched with unclean or dirty hands.
  • The mask should cover the whole mouth and nose, without leaving any gaps between the mask and the face.
  • Hands should be washed with water and an alcohol-based soap, before putting on the mask.

It is crucial to follow the above-mentioned steps, religiously and with due care and precaution, in order to mitigate the risk of getting exposed to the virus.


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