SHOULD WE WEAR DISPOSABLE SURGICAL MASK AFTER GETTING FULLY VACCINATED?
Although being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 dramatically reduces your chances of becoming hospitalized and dying from the disease, the shots don’t entirely eliminate risks of infection.
That’s why health experts have continued to urge people to practice other preventive measures — including wearing surgical masks to benefit from an additional layer of protection during the pandemic.
But more than a year and a half later, what more have scientists learned about masks’ ability to curb coronavirus spread? And are the mask types health officials first recommended still effective as more dangerous variants emerge?
the 3-ply-disposable- surgical mask has been an effective tools for interrupting the transmission of Covid-19
Mask guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention went down a shaky road earlier this year when officials announced fully vaccinated people could ditch their face protection masks under all scenarios, then took it back and said they should wear masks indoors in public in areas of “substantial or high transmission.” The CDC updated its recommendations following surges of coronavirus cases caused by the delta variant.
Generally, the CDC says masks should have two or more layers. It should “fit snugly against the sides of your face” with no gaps and have a wire that bends over your nose to prevent air leakage out the top.
If you decide to keep wearing your multi-layer homemade or cloth mask, experts advise washing them every day. But proceed with caution.
A study published in September of nearly 350,000 people in rural Bangladesh found that villages assigned to wear surgical masks were about 11% less likely than villages wearing no masks to develop COVID-19 over eight weeks. Protection increased to 35% for people over 60 years old.
WHAT IS THE EFFECTIVENESS OF DISPOSABLE SURGICAL MASK WEARING?
“Our study provides strong evidence that mask wearing can interrupt the transmission of [the coronavirus]. It also suggests that filtration efficiency is important,” study co-author Dr. Stephen Luby, a professor of medicine at Stanford, said in a statement. “This includes the fit of the mask as well as the materials from which it is made. A cloth mask is certainly better than nothing. But now might be a good time to consider upgrading to a surgical mask.”
It’s important to note disposable surgical masks are not designed to be reused. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says if they are “damaged or soiled, or if breathing through the mask becomes difficult, you should remove it, discard it safely and replace it with a new one.”