Which mask protects you best from COVID-19?

Over the past week, we’ve kept track of your emails entering the 10TV newsroom to seek clarification on which type of mask provides the best protection.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Over the past week, we’ve been following your emails entering our newsroom asking for clarification on which type of mask provides the best protection.

This is arguably the greatest amount of mask-related questions we’ve seen in some time. We put your questions to Dr. Mahdee Sobhanie, Assistant Professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State University.

Q: Can you sterilize masks in portable sterilization machines?

Dr Sobhanie: “What I would say is the short answer is no. If you are going to be using a single-use disposable mask, whether it is a surgical mask you can buy or a KN95 or KF94, these are masks designed for one-time use. If they are soiled or wet, it somehow loses their properties. The other thing, too, is that what really makes a mask a mask is that it adapts well to the mask. You want to make sure the earrings are snug. You want to make sure the mask also covers the nose and under the chin. But if your mask is soiled, your mask is not really meant to be used more than once, especially those disposable masks. “

Q: Can you use Lysol to disinfect your mask?

Dr Sobhanie: “The answer is no. And these are really materials, like Lysol and bleach, that are for materials used on hard surfaces. So they certainly don’t work on masks. In the same way. that you probably won’t lyse your clothes.

Q: If you wear a cloth mask with an added filter, is it as good as the disposable mask?

Dr Sobhanie: “No. So actually these filters, we don’t recommend these filters. When you want to look at what makes a mask, you have surgical masks and you have these N95 masks.

“What do the N95 masks mean?” They mean they filter 95% of the air particles that come in. Now the N95 masks have a very nice fit, conform to your face and are airtight. That’s why you can see a lot of these healthcare workers when they’re done going around the COVID units and things like that, they have that look on their face where they had the N95. Usually wearing it for long periods of time can be difficult.

With surgical masks, they don’t have any ventilation, they don’t have any of those filters. And so really it’s meant to protect, it’s really meant to filter out about 70% of the particles you inhale. So really if you have a valve there, the valve gets rid of that protection. So these valves are not good. “

Q: I am using a cloth mask with the PM2.5 insert and it seems to work fine. Can I get more details on the effectiveness of the inserts?

Dr Sobhanie: “So I’m not really sure about these specific inserts. Here is what I would say and I did it myself too. When I take a surgical mask, I have masks that I like, cloth masks that I have used. So I usually put them on the surgical mask. But it’s really important to see what filters are available in terms of mask and then use them. Surgical masks are great masks as long as they are worn appropriately and what it really takes is that they should cover the entire face, especially the nose and mouth. “

Q: What constitutes a “surgical” mask? I certainly haven’t found any that say they are for surgical use.

Dr Sobhanie: “Surgical masks are actually regulated by the FDA. And these are usually masks that they know they filter 70%. So if it says they are surgical masks then you know they are surgical masks and they filter about 70% of the material there. N95s are regulated by NIOSH. If you want to look for a mask and are looking online, there are a lot of great resources to check out, but one of the most important to look at is to see if that says they are surgical masks. Some of them will clearly state that they are not intended for surgical use.

Q: And if they are not intended for surgical use, are these certain masks still good?

Dr Sobhanie: “I would say these masks are better than cloth masks. I think cloth masks really are, I think cloth masks are really something we’re not going to go for, to be honest with you. The reason is that we know that the filtration layer is quite fragile. I think with non-surgical masks it just means they haven’t been evaluated by the FDA.

“I can tell you that when I go out in public I usually wear one of those same surgical masks, and then I put a sheet mask on top of it. It’s really important to see what your surroundings and your environment are like. environment.

“See what your surroundings are like. If you are going to a large indoor location like the grocery store and people are fairly well distributed, these surgical masks should be fine. If you’re going to be in a crowded area where people are lined up shoulder to shoulder, and everyone is talking, then this is when you can say I should double the mask or maybe I should wear a surgical mask and a cloth mask over it. “

Q: I bought KN95 masks from a pharmacy. There is an engraved marking “GB2626-2019” on the mask. Are you able to discern from the attached photos and the engraved markings whether these masks are legitimate or not?

Dr Sobahnie: “That’s a great question that I really don’t have an answer for. These masks are designed, the KN95 are designed in China and they have their regulatory process and the KF94 are designed in Korea and they have their own regulatory process.

“It’s a sticky situation too. I will say that as more and more questions about masks emerge, there are different organizations that are sort of going through the process … whatever mask I think people are. choose to wear, right now I think the important thing is that everyone is wearing a mask. I think one of the issues with the pandemic is that we all want answers pretty quickly in terms of “OK, what?” ‘what am I supposed to do? ”As more and more data becomes available, we need to modify the guidelines or make recommendations as more data becomes available. something that was said today may not be true the next day or we may have to change the compass. “

Use these links to make sure your mask isn’t a fraud:

COVID-19 in Ohio: recent coverage


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