Does Wearing A Mask Keep You Safe From Coronavirus?
As the global toll of coronavirus cases rises, people are beginning to take preventative measures to protect themselves from being infected.
The surgical face mask has become somewhat of an emblem of the virus, with incidences of wearers growing and even suppliers selling out.
The masks are designed to block liquid droplets - which would seem effective given COVID-19 is an airborne virus. But how effective actually are they?
According to experts, not very.
Jake Dunning, Head of Zoonoses and Emerging Infections at Public Health England (PHE) told Tyla: "For the general public, face masks are not considered to be effective to protect them from becoming infected. When worn by those who may be infected with the virus, masks can help reduce the spread of the virus."
He added: "However, for appropriately trained health professionals dealing with high risk individuals or cases, properly fitted specialist masks are part of specialist protective equipment when providing care."
This is echoed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) who state on their website: "CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a face mask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
"Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of face masks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility)."
On Thursday it was confirmed that two more people in the UK had tested positive for the virus, bringing the number to 15.
Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty confirmed that the virus had been passed on to the patients in Italy and Tenerife, respectively.
While masks may not be effective, there are some measures that can be taken to stop the spread of the disease.
The official advice offered is to avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, and when coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth with a tissue and then throw it in the bin.
You should also clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using sprays and wipes, and wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. In lieu of soap, use anti-bac gel with at least 60 per cent alcohol.
People are also advised to avoid close contact with people who are unwell, and to stay home when you are sick.
Featured Image Credit: PA