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Can wearing N95 masks shield you from coronavirus?

While masks definitely do help in reducing the chances of getting infected by the airborne virus, there is a big catch

India TV News Desk India TV News Desk
New Delhi Updated on: February 03, 2020 19:19 IST
A file image of medics wearing masks (for representational

A file image of medics wearing masks (for representational purposes)

Face masks, which are selling like hotcakes in supermarkets across China, are not the fool-proof solution to keeping someone from contracting coronavirus. While masks definitely do help in reducing the chances of getting infected by the airborne virus, there is a big catch.

A news report in New Scientist notes that even the standard surgical mask, being employed in massive numbers by concerned people worldwide, don’t offer full protection on the face and mouth.

“And very small particles can simply pass through the material of the mask. These masks also leave the wearer’s eyes exposed – and there’s a chance the virus can infect that way,” says the report.

India Tv - A WHO poster on coronavirus

A WHO poster on coronavirus

The second type of masks being worn by people these days, the N95 respirators, offer more protection than the surgical masks. However, it is this very advantage that becomes a shortcoming when these masks are worn by people exhibiting symptoms of infection.

Says the New Scientist report, “N95 respirators can also make it more difficult for a person to breathe, so could be dangerous for someone showing symptoms of infection of the new coronavirus, which include coughing and shortness of breath.”

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