Back when Covid-19 first started to make its presence truly felt in the UK and pretty much the entire globe, facemasks were recommended by the NHS, along with all associated organizations and facilities. However, it was not until the last week of July that the government decided to make facemasks mandatory for nearly everyone venturing outside their homes, across most locations within UK territory.
As should be obvious to everyone by now, it was a delayed decision which should have been taken much earlier, just as plenty of other nations around the world had done. Naturally, this leads one to question the efficacy of facemasks, as well as the science behind how they protect us from the new coronavirus. Stay with us as we delve deeper into the subject, exploring the science, effectiveness and the best masks available on the market in the UK today.
Understanding the Basics of How a Facemask Should Work
Let’s first focus on how exactly facemasks protect their wearers against potential diseases that can enter our body via the respiratory system. Normal cloth masks or any other facemask that does not have an inbuilt air-filtration system or antimicrobial coating, relies entirely on the fabric’s close-knit weaving to keep harmful microbes out. The Virustatic Shield from Viractiv, on the other hand, relies on filtration and Viruferrin coating respectively, in addition to the physical filtering which close-knit weaving offers. It is therefore maintained that, while plain cloth masks may provide some degree of protection against respiratory infections, they are nowhere near as effective as a respirator or a RedShield mask can be.
The Other Role of Facemasks
It should be duly noted that in addition to providing protection to the wearer, protective masks and respirators are also supposed to serve another crucial purpose. When someone infected with a contagious respiratory disease wears a mask, it reduces their own chance of spreading the disease to others as well. In other words, facemasks are designed to not just keep microbes out of our own systems, but also to keep the wearer from infecting others, in case we already have an infection. This is precisely why wearing a facemask is mandatory, whether you feel sick or healthy. Single valve respirators like the N-95, however, fail to provide dual protection and are therefore not ideal for usage unless the person is already tested to be negative.
Inside the house, this particular role of a facemask should be considered to be of paramount importance. If anyone in the family is displaying signs of common or uncommon respiratory tract infections (RTIs), they should at once start wearing facemasks at home. What we often forget is that even if we do not have Covid-19, there are a host of other viruses which can cause flu-like symptoms and are quite contagious as well. Aside from that, given the rate at which the new coronavirus is spreading, there is always a chance that what seems like the seasonal flu, could well be something more serious.
Are All Facemasks Effective Against the Coronavirus?
We have already gone through the basic introduction of how different masks work. However, if we were to specifically put the new strain of coronavirus into focus, then certain additional factors will need to be considered as well. Masks that rely on physical filtration to keep people protected will mostly be effective as long as the microbes are large enough to be caught in the fabric, and not small enough to get through the gaps in between the stitching. As the SARS-COV-2 virus is far too small to be hindered by physical filtering, its efficacy against the pandemic is not reliable, but not entirely absent either.
Why Cloth Masks and Surgical Masks Can Still Offer Some Protection
The size of SARS-COV-2 particles may lead one to believe that cloth masks are ineffective against it, but that is not entirely true. Even though the virus is fairly new, studies indicate that in most of the cases, the virus managed to infect people when they were being carried by projectile droplets of mucus and water, ejected from an infected person’s sneeze or cough. As high-quality cloth masks can certainly keep mucus and water out, they can severely limit the virus’s chance of getting through without the fluid agents carrying them.
Some of them may and will most likely will, still get through, but the number might not be sufficient in most cases to cause an infection. As a rule, most microbes need a significant population of their strain to cause an infection, as they would simply be wiped off immediately after by our immune system otherwise. Immunocompromised individuals are exempt from this rule and can be infected even if an otherwise insignificant number of the virus gets through the mask.
Unfortunately, in places where the concentration of virions and active virus particles are very high, such as in hospitals and crowded, confined spaces with multiple afflicted individuals, cloth masks may fail to keep the wearer safe. In other words, in any environment where there is a high concentration of floating or ejected viral particles in the air, enough of them might push through gaps in between the weaving to overwhelm an initial immune response, resulting in an infection.
The Best Mask for Sale: How and Why VIRACTIV Shield Works
The RedShield mask, also known as the Viractiv Shield is one of the best masks that one can wear to keep themselves and others protected from SARS-COV-2, as well as 99% of all other known strains of respiratory viruses. What makes the RedShield so effective is the trademarked Virustatic Shield it sports on top of the mask’s fabric. The Viruferrin coating found on every mask from VIRACTIV has been scientifically proven to be effective in blocking and neutralising the Covid-19 virus, along with nearly every other virus that can possibly get through to the respiratory system, without due protection.
In comparison to respirators that come with effective air-filtration systems, a Viractiv mask is more comfortable to wear and it can also filter the air exhaled by the wearer. Considering the fact that they are significantly more cost-effective (50 uses per RedShield) as well, a Viractiv mask is indeed the best mask available for sale.
N-95 Respirators: How and Why Do They Work?
The N-95 respirator was the first respirator that was approved as being effective against SARS-COV-2. However, a genuine N-95 respirator is not to be confused with a facemask, because unlike facemasks, respirators come with a dedicated air-filtration system. These can filter 95% of all airborne particles, even if they are as small as a coronavirus particle. They are quite costly though, and as already mentioned, N-95 masks have one serious shortcoming.
The single-channel design cannot filter air exhaled by someone wearing the respirator, although it does make the act of breathing through the filter much easier. This is a serious cause for concern since people infected by the SARS-COV-2 virus often do not have any symptoms. In addition, the lack of exhaled air-purification also means that someone infected with any other airborne disease could be spreading the infection without control at any isolated/protected place they visit.