/ Face masks ?

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
stp 19 Mar 2020

So I've heard the meme that face masks are worth wearing by infected people to prevent spread but not as protection. But I can't understand why that would be.

If you are wearing glasses, any old glasses, surely they can only lessen the chance of getting an infected droplet in your eye. Why not the same with a face mask?

I get there are different types but it seems to me that any barrier should be better than no barrier at all. I also notice many Asian people wearing masks so it seems like they must have different info.

jbrom 19 Mar 2020
In reply to stp:

It's not so much about the wearing of face masks, it's more about the process of wearing them, taking them on off etc.

Wearing a mask will mean you touch your face more than you would without one. Therefore if you are not affected and you wear a mask, but get the virus on your hands then adjusting the mask, taking it off etc could transfer the virus to your mouth nose etc.

If you already have the virus then touching your face etc is less of an issue and a mask is likely to reduce the chance of the virus being transmitted through coughing, but not through touching, that risk remains the same, mask or no mask.

mondite 19 Mar 2020
In reply to stp:

Just because "Asian people" wear a mask doesnt necessarily mean they are better informed. Just look at the shelf stripping for looking at where general opinion leads. Plus certain asian countries citizens have had a liking for masks for quite some time now.

The basic surgical masks are thought to give very minor benefit since the virus particles are small enough to get through.

LastBoyScout 20 Mar 2020
In reply to stp:

Anyone that has ever worn a basic paper-type mask for any length of time will know what horrible things they are - they're a pain to fit properly round the (my!) nose, meaning they don't seal properly breathing in and you are usually breathing into your own eyes breathing out and even the ones with exhaust valves* soon become a wet mess from the moisture in your breath.

* which, btw, are hopeless if you are infected, as they don't trap anything on the way out!

Stichtplate 20 Mar 2020
In reply to LastBoyScout:

> Anyone that has ever worn a basic paper-type mask for any length of time will know what horrible things they are - they're a pain to fit properly round the (my!) nose, meaning they don't seal properly breathing in and you are usually breathing into your own eyes breathing out and even the ones with exhaust valves* soon become a wet mess from the moisture in your breath.

> * which, btw, are hopeless if you are infected, as they don't trap anything on the way out!

Decent surgical masks are moisture absorbent on the inside and moisture repellent on the outside (usually white side in, blue side out). The FFP3 masks are a step up, but they're in short supply. Worth noting, most disposable masks start losing efficacy after about an hour anyway.

Toerag 20 Mar 2020
In reply to stp:

Better to catch the droplets at source than catch only the ones in the air at 'victim'. A mask on a sick person stops them spreading their droplets into the air and onto surfaces where they can be picked up by someone else.

RomTheBear 20 Mar 2020
In reply to stp:

A FFP3 mask worn properly will filter viruses.
It takes a bit of practice to make a good seal, and it must be put on / taken off following proper procedure.

stp 20 Mar 2020
In reply to jbrom:

In a practical sense I'm thinking about wearing a mask in a supermarket. To me that seems like the most high risk place of infection that is mandatory. We have to buy food.

So you can probably be in and out in about 15mins. 15 mins of mask wearing every few days.

With regard to face touching I can see your point. But I've also heard of a counter argument which also makes sense. If you're wearing a mask you're less likely to touch your mouth with your fingers.

stp 20 Mar 2020
In reply to mondite:

> The basic surgical masks are thought to give very minor benefit since the virus particles are small enough to get through.

So my thought is that in a life or death situation a very minor benefit is still preferable to no benefit.

Jenny C 20 Mar 2020
In reply to Stichtplate:

>.... most disposable.... 

At the start of the year the watch words were 'plastic free' and 'reducing single use plastics'. 

Just a few months later we are all buying plastic soap dispensors, plastic wrapped loo roll and plastic bottles of disinfectant on industrial scale.

Then moving on to talk of using disposable masks (I guess gloves will be next), which will have a shorter life span than the average 5p shoping bag and a dubious level of actual protection. 

Shows how quick people's priorities change when faced with a 'me first' dilemma.

1
Stichtplate 20 Mar 2020
In reply to Jenny C:

> >.... most disposable.... 

> At the start of the year the watch words were 'plastic free' and 'reducing single use plastics'. 

> Just a few months later we are all buying plastic soap dispensors, plastic wrapped loo roll and plastic bottles of disinfectant on industrial scale.

> Then moving on to talk of using disposable masks (I guess gloves will be next), which will have a shorter life span than the average 5p shoping bag and a dubious level of actual protection. 

> Shows how quick people's priorities change when faced with a 'me first' dilemma.

Not quite sure what your point is? If you work in healthcare you either treat the masks as disposable or you're treating your patients as disposable.

1
Jenny C 20 Mar 2020
In reply to Stichtplate:

Yes 100% essential in healthcare and many other applications. 

Just the general mind wanderings of how society has gone from trying to cut out single use plastics to save the planet, into a general survival mode with little thought for my carbon/plastic footprint.

Totally understandable, but.......? 

Siward 20 Mar 2020
In reply to stp:

Academic isn't it? Where the hell would I get my hands on a face mask when I can't even buy pasta? 

Gordon Stainforth 20 Mar 2020
In reply to Siward:

You can get them on the internet, or at least you could a few days ago. Pretty scarce. They have to be N95/FFP3 compliant to be effective against viruses.

Gordon Stainforth 20 Mar 2020
In reply to stp:

I think a mask also hopefully sends out a psychological signal: a warning to people to keep 2+ metres apart. 

Stichtplate 20 Mar 2020
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> You can get them on the internet, or at least you could a few days ago. Pretty scarce. They have to be N95/FFP3 compliant to be effective against viruses.

No reputable suppliers have FFP3 masks available. You can chance your arm on flea bay or you can send your cash off to a small internet outfit. Whether you'll get FFP3 back is doubtful.

artif 20 Mar 2020
In reply to stp:

Disposable masks are only recommended for usage of one hour or less. 

Without a face fit test it's debatable if they'll do the job anyway. Obviously, any facial hair etc will render them useless (sorry hipsters). 

And without following the fitting and removal protocols its a waste of time.

In case your interested, I've had to wear everything from disposable masks to full air fed suits in areas where mistakes/misuse would be very serious.

mondite 20 Mar 2020
In reply to stp:

> So my thought is that in a life or death situation a very minor benefit is still preferable to no benefit.


Are you in a life or death situation? Or will you be depriving someone who is really in that position?

If I was going to be near a vulnerable person then it might make sense to wear a mask although make more sense to not be near them.

kathrync 20 Mar 2020
In reply to stp:

>I also notice many Asian people wearing masks so it seems like they must have different info.

In parts of Asia, wearing masks is a social nicety and has been for many years, however it is often misunderstood here.  People who already have a cold or similar wear a mask in public to avoid infecting others - people do not wear masks in order to avoid getting a cold.

nathan79 20 Mar 2020
In reply to artif:

Most of my colleagues are getting mask fittings today (scientists doing an essential public health job) but I passed as there was no way I was going clean shaven.

3
tom_in_edinburgh 20 Mar 2020
In reply to stp:

I think they are saying that because there aren't enough masks, the limited supply is better used by health workers and they don't want people going crazy trying to get masks like happened with bog roll.

Seems very clear that the Chinese, Taiwanese, South Koreans and Japanese all have completely the opposite view and expect people to wear masks in public.  They also have done far better at shutting down the virus than western countries.   But they have lots of manufacturing and no shortage of masks.

Probably the main mechanism that makes non-fitted masks useful is the mask protecting everyone else from the aerosol spray if the wearer coughs or sneezes and making it impossible for the wearer to touch their own mouth.  Maybe it also cuts down on social interactions just because your not so likely to chat when you can't see the other persons face.

Post edited at 12:27
jimtitt 20 Mar 2020
In reply to stp:

The real pain in the ass is I wear masks (FP2) all the time for cutting and grinding metal and you can't buy them now. Only about a dozen left and then what?

wercat 20 Mar 2020
In reply to Jenny C:

cardboard boxed soap for us.   My sister in law in Germany who is a nurse says the advice is that soap is a lot more effective

captain paranoia 20 Mar 2020
In reply to Jenny C:

> Just a few months later we are all buying plastic soap dispensors, plastic wrapped loo roll and plastic bottles of disinfectant on industrial scale.

All of which should be recyclable.

artif 20 Mar 2020
In reply to jimtitt:

Get a proper reusable mask with replaceable filters, or an air fed hood like your supposed to have, for extended duration use. 

jimtitt 20 Mar 2020
In reply to artif:

I don't NEED a blower helmet though my welding mask is one, a pain to use for occasional and accurate work though. And the filter cartridges for my spraying mask aren't real cheap!

Mind you since the price for an FFP2 with valve has gone from €1.60 ea in bulk to €17 each it'll probably be cheaper to hire some redundant worker to do the work anyway.

Kemics 20 Mar 2020
In reply to stp:

I work in front line nhs and we are only wearing surgical masks with likely covid patients. We have protocols for removing all the PPE. I hope it offers some protection. 

Post edited at 19:51
Le Sapeur 20 Mar 2020
In reply to Siward:

> Academic isn't it? Where the hell would I get my hands on a face mask when I can't even buy pasta? 

I got one in Screwfix a couple of days ago and they had reasonable stock.

It's to prevent inhaling dust while I sand my floor. 


This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.