According to one store manager, their entire stock of face masks were sold out in the last two days – despite the fact that there have been no cases of the coronavirus in Bahrain.
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“If it is a regular face mask, the answer is no,” says Dr. William Shaffner, an infectious-disease specialist based at Vanderbilt University. “A more specialized mask, known as the N95 respirator, can protect against the new coronavirus, also called 2019-nCoV.”
However, as the N95 respirator is so big and bulky, it’s not recommended for public use at this point. Part of that is because they are so complicated to use properly.
Specialists must receive training every year on how to best fit the respirator, ensuring the correct fit. If it doesn’t fit correctly, it actually makes the wearer more subjective to potential viral threats.
Why don’t regular face masks protect against things like the coronavirus?
“They’re not designed to keep out viral particles, and they’re not nearly as tightly fitted around your nose and cheeks,” said Shaffner.
Regular face masks are fine at keeping pollutants out of the lungs, but don’t work very well in the context of a virus.
There have been two confirmed cases of the Coronavirus here in the UAE, however the ministry of health has assured the public that every measure has been taken to contain the spread of the virus.
Want to limit the risk of contracting any type of virus? As for right now, most medical professionals recommend keeping away from sick people first and foremost, and postponing any travel to China where the virus originated and has infected more than 14,500 people.
Second, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands, and frequently wash your hands and disinfect things frequently.
If you are already sick, wearing a mask can help stop you spreading your illness to other people around you. But at that point, it’s probably best to just stay home, rest and recuperate.
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