Do Face masks protect against COVID19
On June 5th 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) issued a paper on Face masks. In it was this warning......
"Potential harms/disadvantages self-contamination that can occur if non-medical masks are not changed when wet or soiled. This can create favourable conditions for microorganisms to amplify"
I'm fairly sure that 99% of mask wearers are not using, or looking after their masks properly.
Other WHO recommendations include:-
Do not touch the mask once it is on.
Only remove the mask by ear loops or headband.
Wash reusable masks daily, dry and store correctly.
Let's go through the commonly available masks.....
Medical examination masks (the thin blue ones) - should only be worn for an hour or two. These are not very effective as they are a loose fit, allowing air to bypass the mask. If you can feel the air on your cheeks as you breathe in or out, it is not being filtered. Virtually useless! They were designed to prevent the wearer coughing onto another person during a medical examination or procedure.
P2 /N95 masks - the typical builder's dust mask. These are a tight fit around the face, great! The N95/P2 is an indication that the mask filters down to 2 microns. This will trap some harmful bacteria and molds (microorganisms). However, the COVID-19 virus can be smaller than 1 micron. Some P2/N95 masks have a valve to allow expelled air to escape easily. This is good for the wearer, but not good for those around as it releases unfiltered micro-droplets in the air. P2/N95 masks should also be disposed of after a couple of hours of use.
Reusable fabric masks - come in a variety of styles and levels of filtration. Some have replaceable filters (change daily or when moist), some have more layers, some are not so great. Users should have 3 masks. Recent research showed that COVID-19 can live on fabric for 72 hours. Therefore they should be washed and dried daily, and/or stored in a fresh paper bag for 2 days before being re-used.
How many people actually follow these recommendations?
Almost nobody is my guess. Medical and P95 masks are probably used for several days on end. Reusable masks, maybe weeks or months. All without the appropriate care.
We have developed a Face Mask Sanitiser, from our range of natural Australian made sanitisation products for the air conditioning and food service industries. Unlike regular sanitizers it is alcohol free. Our formulation includes natural Australian Tea Tree Oil. It is totally non-toxic, hypoallergenic, and preservative & perfume free.
It is currently available at our store here
We know it kills about 99% of harmful bacteria and mould, but so far it has not been tested against the COVID-19 virus. UNSW is about to do this research for us.