Coronavirus UK: Do surgical face masks work to avoid virus symptoms?

31 January 2020, 11:32

Can face masks protect us against coronavirus? Experts think not
Can face masks protect us against coronavirus? Experts think not. Picture: PA Images

By Zoe Adams

Can face masks prevent coronavirus? The UK have two cases confirmed but how can we protect ourselves against the symptoms? Here’s everything you need to know.

Coronavirus has officially been confirmed in the UK and as everyone begins taking precautions to protect themselves from the virus symptoms, it seems surgical face masks are becoming the most popular method of protection.

But can face masks really protect us from coronavirus? And can they help keep us away from virus symptoms?

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Here’s everything you need to know about how effective they really are:

Coronavirus in the UK has caused a national shortage of face masks
Coronavirus in the UK has caused a national shortage of face masks. Picture: PA Images

Can surgical face masks protect us from coronavirus?

Those worried about the virus have been rushing to buy face masks with sellers like Boots and Amazon selling out - but do they work? It seems not.

Health experts have revealed face masks aren’t effective enough in protecting us from illnesses like the coronavirus. They have said they will still allow bacteria to reach the face as they can’t completely close off the mouth and nose due to poor fitting. Viruses can also be contracted through eyes.

The masks will become wet quickly because of breathing which also damages how effective they can be.

The virus can also be spread through touching of the mouth, nose and eyes. Something the mask can’t always be effective with.

What masks are doctors wearing to protect themselves from coronavirus?

Doctors and medical officials having to come in close contact with those with the virus are wearing much more heavy-duty masks like a N95 respirator - a mask designed to fit the wearer’s face specifically.

Coronavirus face masks aren't completely effective because of the loose-fitting
Coronavirus face masks aren't completely effective because of the loose-fitting. Picture: PA Images

What’s the best way to protect against the coronavirus?

While wearing a mask hasn't proved the best way, it’s washing your hands that has been recommended as the most important as this can kill germs the most effectively.

Avoid touching your eyes and nose and always sneeze into a tissue and put in the bin.

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