Explained: Amid Omicron scare, why you should avoid cloth masks?
New Delhi, Dec 25: As the highly-infectious, fast-spreading Omicron covid variant rages across the world, health experts have warned against the use of single-layer cloth face masks as protection from the virus.
Health experts have time and again stressed that one cannot rely on vaccines alone. Human behaviour unfortunately also plays a huge role, hence masking and social distancing are seen as major weapn in fight against Cocid especially in times of Omicron.
In the initial stage of covid, experts have advisted for cloth masks as they were less-effective and re-usable. With the emergence of Omicron, experts have suggested using N95 or K95 masks to fight the infections.
Speaking to CNN, Dr Leana Wen, a Professor atGeorge Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health said "Cloth masks are little more than facial decorations. There's no place for them in light of Omicron. This is what scientists and public health officials have been saying for months, many months, in fact."
Dr Wen recommended the use of KN95 or N95 masks as they prevent larger and tiny particles from getting into nose or mouth.
But you can use a cloth mask while double masking, that is with a surgical mask.
According to experts, cloth masks are often made of single-layer material that offers minimal particle filtration, while KN95 masks can filter out up to 95 per cent of particles in the air.
Meanwhile, check for things like:
Fit: Make sure that the outer mask helps press the inner mask close to your face, forming a seal. To do this, cup your hands over your mask and feel for air escaping from the edges as you breathe.
Breathing: While breathing may require a little extra effort when you're double masking, it shouldn't make breathing difficult.
Vision: Make sure that your double mask doesn't block your vision.
Evaluate the situation: If you can maintain a distance from others outside your household, a single mask can give good protection. However, a double mask can be beneficial