Friends, at the beginning of this pandemic, experts in the US said there was no need to where masks, unless you had the virus—to protect others. Of course, they are learning as they go, and were fearful that medical professionals would not be able to get the highly coveted masks. We all agree that those on the frontlines need them the most.
But here in Tel Aviv, my wife kept telling me that the Israeli news outlets were encouraging everyone to wear a mask when they went outside. So, I did some research (googling). I first found out that the Czech Republic made it mandatory to where a mask when going out and even a novice can see the difference. I was going through the different graphs on the Johns Hopkins page looking for any difference in different countries. Other than China (who cannot be trusted) and South Korea, they all looked similar…but then I checked on the Czech’s and the difference was clear.
Then someone sent me this video from people in the Czech Republic.
They have a site called www.mask4all.org and offer advice in the graphic below.
Understand, I am a person of faith—I am trusting God for supernatural protection. But also want to be wise. The Bible tells us that we can drink deadly poison and handle snake bites, but it also assumes that you will not seek such situations, rather, it is when they are forced upon you like Paul:
Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand. 4 When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, “This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, the goddess Justice has not allowed him to live.” But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. (Acts 28:3-5)
Psalm 91 says that no plague will come near our dwelling. If you are not a person of faith and you want to know how to have a relationship with God and gain eternal life, please go here. It is better than a mask!!! 🙂
Back to the masks:
The CDC released new guidelines this week, recommending that we all wear at least non-medical face coverings when you go outside. It certainly can’t hurt! And if you are asymptomatic and have COVID-19, you could be spreading it without knowing.
So, let’s look at masks and what they do.
First, what is the difference between the medical grade masks and the non-medical ones? Most of the ones you have seen on TV are medical grade. That would even include the disposable surgical masks. Then you have some with filters, some that get tighter than others, and even the see through full-face shields. In Israel, I have seen many grocery store workers wearing these. In ICU units, they typically wear both a mask and a shield, as they are working with people they are infected. Take a minute now and pray for heroic medical workers, from nurses, to paramedics to doctors.
A non-medical mask is really anything else. I used an undershirt before we got a supply of disposable surgical masks. It is believed that material from a bandana to a scarf will keep out much of the infected droplets. Note, the droplets can still attach to the outside of the mask. So, when you get home, wash them before you reuse. When you take them off, it is recommended that you use a fresh pair of gloves or make sure to wash your hands immediately. DO NOT TOUCH THE OUTSIDE OF THE MASK AND THEN YOUR FACE!
Now, if you are not going to wash your hands, you are wasting your time. If infected particles are on the outside of your mask and then you touch it—and then touch your mouth…hello? So here are some guidelines from the World Health Organization (whom I do not trust on bigger issues, but I do here)
- Before putting on a mask, clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
- Cover mouth and nose with mask and make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask.
- Avoid touching the mask while using it; if you do, clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
- Replace the mask with a new one as soon as it is damp and do not re-use single-use masks.
- To remove the mask: remove it from behind (do not touch the front of mask); discard immediately in a closed bin; clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
If you are going to wear a mask, it should just be one of many actions you take to prevent getting infected.
Surgical masks were created to keep the wearer from getting liquids, from coughing or sneezing, on their patients and to keep the wearer from breathing in droplets or liquids that contained harmful bacteria. When I was in Nepal, we wore them everywhere in Katmandu because of the pollution. They were not, however, designed to prevent the smaller or tiny particles from getting to the wearer.
They are disposable as well. It is not recommended that you use it more than once. Remember, tainted particles can attach to the outside, so get rid of it quickly and responsibly when you get home.
Reusable face coverings should cover your nose and mouth and can be made from many different items in your home from shirts to scarfs. However, after each use they need to be washed (and wash your hands after using them) in hot water and dry them on high heat. That will kill any viral particles. These are not as effective as surgical masks and respirators, but they are a defense if you don’t have a mask. Certainly the more layers, the safer you are.
You have heard Governor Cuomo constantly say that he needs more respirators. He is speaking of the N95 respirator mask. It fits very tight, covers the nose and mouth, but also has a respirator for extra protection. It is said to block 95% of particles including viruses! These MUST be cleaned after each use! Here are some guidelines:
- Place a steam basket or colander inside of a pot.
- Boil water on the stove
- Place your mask inside facing down in the steam basket for about 30 seconds covered.
- Take it out and spray it with 70% rubbing alcohol.
- Hang to dry.
Cloth Surgical Mask
These are less safe, that disposable surgical masks and N95 respirators, but better than nothing. Again, make sure to wash! (If this was my only optioned I would prefer a think scarf or several layers of another fabric.)
Should you wear one
It would seem from evidence over the past two months that it would be advised.
However, wear it correctly. Wash your hands. Do not bring particles from the outside into your home. Dispose or wash correctly. I know this is a hassle, but it could save your life or someone with whom you come in contact.
**Ron Cantor is not a scientist or health care professional. He just wants to see you not die. Consult your physician for professional advice.