Apr 1, 2020
NOTICE: Published April 1, 2020 - The information in this post/episode is subject to change.
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All of the discussions about surgical masks got me thinking; what do we know about viruses (CVID-19 or others), and what are the EXPERTS saying? I wanted to explore this topic and share my thoughts.
As of April 1, 2020, the WHO, CDC, OSHA guidance on wearing masks (if you are HEALTHY) is the same; you do NOT need to wear a mask except for specific circumstances. Let's read what they have to say. NOTICE: Published April 1, 2020 - The information in this post/episode has changed.
World Health Organization
On the Questions and Answers page: Should I wear a mask to protect myself?
Only wear a mask if you are ill with COVID-19 symptoms (especially coughing) or looking after someone who may have COVID-19. A disposable face mask can only be used once. If you are not ill or looking after someone who is sick, then you are wasting a mask. There is a worldwide shortage of masks, so the WHO urges people to use masks wisely.
WHO advises the rational use of medical masks to avoid unnecessary wastage of precious resources and misuse of masks (see Advice on the use of masks).
The most effective ways to protect yourself and others against COVID-19 are to frequently clean your hands, cover your cough with the bend of elbow or tissue and maintain a distance of at least 1 meter (3 feet) from people who are coughing or sneezing (the rest of us use 6 feet). See basic protective measures against the new coronavirus for more information.
What does the CDC say about wearing asks?
NOTICE: Published April 1, 2020 - The information in this post/episode has changed.
Surgical masks also protect other people against infection from the person wearing the surgical mask. Such masks trap large particles of body fluids that may contain bacteria or viruses expelled by the wearer.
Surgical masks are used for several different purposes, including the following:
Surgical masks are not designed or certified to prevent the inhalation of small airborne contaminants. These particles are not visible to the naked eye but may still be capable of causing infection.
Surgical masks are not designed to seal tightly against the user's face. During inhalation, much of the potentially contaminated air can pass through gaps between the face and the surgical mask and not be pulled through the filter material of the mask.
Their ability to filter small particles varies significantly based upon the type of material used to make the surgical mask, so they cannot be relied upon to protect workers against airborne infectious agents.
Only surgical masks that are cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to be legally marketed in the United States have been tested for their ability to resist blood and body fluids.
Listen to the whole episode to get my thoughts. What do you think? Masks or no masks? I will post an update on this topic as well as take all of your comments to heart! Join the discussion on LinkedIn. Just be sure to @ mention Blaine J. Hoffmann or The SafetyPro Podcast LinkedIn page. You can also find the podcast on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.