Do surgical masks protect against Omicron? What are the most effective?

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01/06/2022 at 18:00 CET

The explosion of infections by the variant Omicron It is leaving us in Spain a number of positives never seen before in the entire pandemic.

In the last 14 days, according to the Ministry of Health, more than a million cases have been reported. Specifically, 1,061,627. The incidence, therefore, triggered in the final stretch of Christmas: 2,258 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

It may interest you: Guide for positives and close contacts: How many days do I have to quarantine? What if I have symptoms?

Frequent hand washing, a safe distance, ventilation and the use of a mask remain the most effective measures – along with vaccination against the coronavirus – to face the sixth wave of the coronavirus.

In recent weeks, the Government once again established the mandatory use of masks outside regardless of the safety distance.

A rule with exceptions: it will not be of compulsory use in the practice of individual sport, walk through natural spaces or when the distance of one and a half meters is maintained with non-cohabiting people.

This change of course, six months after lifting this imposition, is due to the uncontrolled increase in new cases in Spain.

However, early studies suggest that the cases are less severe, although Ómicron has already become the fastest-spreading virus in history. He has conquered the world in just one month.

Does the surgical mask protect me against Omicron?

The Ministry of Health, Consumption and Social Welfare recommends to the general population the use of surgical masks.

“They are a sanitary product that, mainly, limits the output of respiratory droplets, thus preventing the transmission of the virus to other people,” they explain from the department.

Of course, the use of a surgical mask protects you if you use it correctly and also add preventive measures such as covering the mouth / nose, avoiding touching the eyes, nose or noca and the use of disposable tissues.

However, healthy people are advised to preferably use hygienic masks, which may or may not be reusable, and positive symptomatic or asymptomatic people lean towards surgical ones. Both have the same objective: to avoid the transmission of infectious agents.

“Is it so designed to filter exhaled air and protect those around you& rdquor ;. This means that the person wearing a surgical or hygienic mask will protect others by preventing the dispersal of droplets.

Droplets are particles larger than 300 microns that are expelled when sneezing, coughing, or just talking. The danger is that they come into contact with other people’s eyes, mouth or nose. In these cases, contagion by COVID-19 would occur.

So, the use of surgical mask or hygiene It only protects you if the other person you are interacting with is also properly protected. If you lack this type of protection, you are exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Either one model or another, they should not be used for more than 4 hours and should be discarded in case they get damp or deteriorate.

So is it better to use FFP2 or FFP3 masks?

The FFP2 or FFP3 masks are Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), as explained by the Ministry of Health, and “are recommended fundamentally for use by professionals to create a barrier between a potential risk and the user & rdquor ;.

However, “they may also be recommended for vulnerable groups due to medical indications & rdquor ;.

This type of mask is intended to filter the inhaled air avoiding the entry of polluting particles into our body.

The duration is equal to the surgical or hygienic ones, four hours, and being necessary to replace them in the event that they become damp or deteriorate due to use.

FFP2 and FFP3 not only protect against coronavirus, they also serve to protect you from exposure to SARS-CoV-2. It is the main difference with surgical and hygienic masks.

In neighboring countries, such as Italy or Austria, the use of the FFP2 mask, considered one of the most protective of Covid-19 aerosols, it is mandatory to enter public transport or to establishments such as supermarkets or theaters.

From the cabinet led by Carolina Darias, it is specified that “for protection against COVID-19, the use of EPI FFP2 & rdquor; masks is recommended.

Those that have a wire so that they adapt better to our face and, above all, to the nose, are especially indicated to face Covid-19.

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