Different Type of Face Masks and Their Protection Against Covid-19
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Coronavirus diseases 2019 (COVID-19) have become a major pandemic and a gruesome burden worldwide. The infection is easily spread through respiratory droplets from infected individuals during coughing, sneezing or talking. People in their vicinity, within 1-meter distance, can get infected by breathing contaminated air and touching the contaminated surfaces or hands. WHO encouraged the use of facemasks in the community, together with regular hand washing with soap and social distancing to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. However, with the many types of facemasks available in the markets, it remains debatable as to which ones are the most effective in curbing the transmission of the disease. This paper reviews available literature on the types of face masks, their effectiveness in filtering droplets and the advantages and disadvantages of using disposable and fabric masks. As found out, the most superior mask is the N95 type, with a filtration rate of 95% of 0.3 micron particles. However, for respiratory droplets, which particle size is from 5 to 10 microns, a surgical mask is adequate with a filtration rate of 90% of 3 micron particles. Due to disposal and cost concerns, surgical masks are recommended to be used only by health care workers. Three-layer cotton masks offer almost the same filtration rate as surgical mask and are recommended by WHO to be used in the community to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. Surgical masks and 3-layered cotton masks are effective in preventing droplet transmission from infected to healthy individuals. To prevent COVID-19, the public should be reminded continuously on the proper use and disposal of masks, regular hand washing and physical distancing.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Nurul Azmawati Mohamed, Wan Shahida Wan Sulaiman
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