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Can putting on a medical face mask protect you from the new coronavirus? It’s a matter so many people are asking, including dog owners who definitely are putting canine face masks on their dogs. If it’s a normal surgical face mask, the answer is no, Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, told Live Science.

A more specialized mask, called an N95 respirator, can control the new coronavirus, also known as SARS-CoV-2. The respirator is thicker compared to a surgical mask, but neither Schaffner nor the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) recommend it for public use, at the very least not around this point. That’s because, in part, it’s challenging to use these masks and wear them for long periods of time, he explained.

Specialists receive retraining annually concerning how to properly fit these respirators across the nose, cheeks and chin, making certain wearers don’t breathe around the edges of the respirator. “When you do that, it ends up that this work of breathing, since you’re going through a very thick material, is harder. You need to work to breathe out and in. It’s a bit claustrophobic. It can get moist and hot within,” Schaffner said.

“I know that I can put them on when I have to for around one half-hour,” he added. “But then, I have to go from the isolation room, take it off and try taking some deep breaths, kind of cool off, before I can go back in.”

Although it still might be possible to snag an N95 respirator online, Schaffner advised against it. If too many people unnecessarily stockpile respirators, a shortage could put the fitness of medical workers and those that need them in danger, Schaffner said.

Surgical masks – The thinner surgical mask is supposed for surgeons, because these products perform a good job of keeping pathogens from your doctor’s nose and mouth from entering the surgical field, Schaffner said.

In certain Asian countries, like Japan and China, it’s not unusual to view people wearing surgical masks in public areas to safeguard against pathogens and pollution. But those masks don’t help much inside the context of a virus, Schaffner said. “They’re not designed to keep out viral particles, and they’re not as tightly fitted around your nose and cheeks” as being an N95 respirator, he said.

“Could they be of some use? Yes, however the effect may very well be modest,” Schaffner said.

He noted that some individuals wear surgical masks as they are sick with a cold or even the flu and they don’t would like to get other people sick. However, if you’re sick, it’s best just not to attend public areas. “That’s enough time to stay home,” Schaffner said.

People sick with COVID-19, however, should wear face masks to lessen the chance of infection to people around them, in accordance with the CDC. Health care workers and people “looking after someone contaminated with COVID-19 in close settings (at home or in a healthcare facility),” should also wear face masks, the CDC reported.

People wearing surgical masks should dump them after each use, the CDC added.

Otherwise, the easiest method to avoid having the coronavirus is always to, first and foremost, postpone any go to places with known outbreaks. You can also thoroughly wash the hands with soap; avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth xfsvee unwashed hands; avoid close contact with individuals who are sick; and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, the CDC recommends.

Regarding animal owners putting face masks on the dogs, a Pomeranian dog in Hong Kong tested positive a “weak positive” for COVID-19. That dog is now in quarantine, however is not showing symptoms of the condition, according to a March 5 piece in the South China Morning Post. However, it’s unclear just how the dog was tested for your illness. What’s more, it doesn’t appear that pets can transmit the virus to humans, and experts told people who have pets never to panic.

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