Let’s nip the burst of fake news and advice about the Wuhan coronavirus, and share with you what are the scientifically and medically-recommended ways to protect yourself against this new virus.
Please read and SHARE this with your family and friends, and more importantly – ignore trolls who tell you that Vitamin C or rasam will cure or prevent infection by this virus!
Wuhan Coronavirus : Protect With Surgical Masks + Eyewear!
For those who just want a quick and simple summary, this is what you need to do :
- STAY AWAY from anyone with symptoms like fever, dry cough, and breathing difficulties,
- maintain good hygiene by cleaning your hands with soap or hand sanitiser
- wear a surgical mask or N95 respirator, but NOT a fashion mask
- if you need to come into close contact with a patient, wear protective eyewear
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Face Masks vs Surgical Masks vs N95 Respirators
It is very important for us to differentiate face masks from surgical / medical masks, and N95 respirators.
Face masks are generally worn for fashion, although their users may believe that they can filter out dust. They are usually reusable, being made from washable cotton, and often lack a filter.
A proper 3-ply surgical or medical mask, on the other hand, has three layers – each with very specific functions :
- an outer hydrophobic layer, which repels water, blood and body fluids,
- a middle filter layer that is designed to filter bacteria, and
- an inner hydrophilic layer, which absorbs water, sweat and spit
There are also 2-ply face masks that are usually made from the same material – fabric or polypropylene or other kinds of non-woven material. There is NO FILTER layer. These are usually used in the spa or food industry.
Finally, we have N95 respirators that are designed to form a tight seal over your mouth and nose, and will filter 95% of particles with a median diameter of 0.3 microns.
Surgical Masks Are As Effective As N95 Respirators
N95 respirators are all the rage in Asia, because they are the only effective personal filtration solution for the haze.
However, a new CDC-sponsored study, published in JAMA on 3 September 2019, showed that surgical masks are as effective as N95 respirators in preventing influenza infections amongst healthcare workers.
While studies will need to be conducted to determine how effective surgical masks are against the Wuhan coronavirus, we do know that it is larger than, or as large as, the influenza A virus
Based on the influenza test results, it is likely that the Wuhan coronavirus will be as effectively blocked by a 3-ply surgical mask.
It is also believed that surgical masks help prevent infections by preventing users from touching their faces with dirty / infected hands.
This is important because many people do not get infected by breathing in viral particles floating in the air, but by touching their mouth and nose with their contaminated hands.
Recommended : Hand Sanitiser vs Soap : Which Should We Use?
Where To Buy Surgical Masks
Before you rush out to buy surgical masks, please make sure they are proper 3-layer surgical masks, and not 2-ply face masks or fashion masks. Here are some online purchase options :
Eyewear May Be Needed Against Wuhan Coronavirus
Wang Guangfa, a Chinese respiratory specialist was infected by the Wuhan coronavirus, despite taking precautions including wearing an N95 respirator.
He believes it may have infected him through his eyes, a possibility that is being investigated but has yet to be confirmed.
Out of an abundance of caution, healthcare workers who are in direct contact with suspected or confirmed cases of the Wuhan coronavirus are wearing protective eyewear.
At the moment, the scientific consensus is that there is no need for the public to wear protective eyewear.
However, if one of your family members may be infected with the Wuhan coronavirus, you should wear protective eyewear as a precaution.
There is no need to purchase specialised medical eyewear. Just use whatever you have at home – workman’s protective glasses, spectacles, sunglasses or even swimming googles.
But if you really want a cheap, cool-looking protective glasses that cover both ocular orbits, this is what I’m using – the Honeywell A700 safety glasses.
Here are some online purchase options if you are interested to get the Honeywell A700 as well :
- Malaysia : RM 11-15.99 | RM 19.90
- Singapore : S$5.62 | S$8.80
- US : $6.61 | S$6.79 | $7.37 | $7.69 | $7.84 | $7.98
- UK : £2.09 | £7.49
- AU : A$12.03 | A$12.42 | A$21.39 | A$33.96
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