Wearing Surgical Masks Can Lower COVID-19 Spread

lady wearing a surgical respirator

Several studies have been carried out in response to world leaders and the WHO questioning if the wearing of face masks effectively slows the spread of Covid-19.

It has been claimed the wearing surgical masks can Lower Covid-19 spread, and significantly reduce the chances of those with COVID-19 infecting others in their immediate vicinity.

Hong Kong Study On Face Masks:

According to a study in Hong Kong, the rate of transmission of Covid-19 through airborne particles or respiratory droplets lowered by approximately 75% when face masks were used.

“The findings implied to the world, and the public is that the effectiveness of mask-wearing against the coronavirus pandemic is vast.” A leading microbiologist Dr. Yuen Kwok-yung, from Hong Kong University who helped identify the SARS virus in 2003, stated the study was the first of its kind.

Dr. Yuen said that his team conducted the study because he has long supported wearing masks. However, world leaders, including the World Health Organisation (WHO), had questioned their efficiency.

People wearing face masks

The study saw his team use two cages containing hamsters in different scenarios in a laboratory.

One group of hamsters was infected with COVID-19, and the other group was healthy. A fan was then used to circulate air around the infected animals – some of which did not show symptoms.

Researchers said they found that two-thirds of the healthy hamsters were infected within a week without any masks between the cages.

But when they situated masks on the cage with infected animals, the infection rate dropped to just over 15%.

The infection rate dropped by around 35% when masks were situated on the healthy hamsters’ cage.

The research found hamsters that became infected were found to have less of the virus in their bodies than those who became infected without a mask placed on their cage.

Dr. Yuen told a press conference: “In our hamster experiment, it shows very clearly that if infected, hamsters or humans, asymptomatic or symptomatic, the ones who ‘wear’ masks, protected others around them.”

“That’s the most robust result we showed here. Transmission can be reduced by 50% when surgical masks are used, especially when infected individuals wear masks.”

“Up to this stage, we do not have a safe and effective vaccine. What remains practical is still either social-distancing measures or wearing masks.”


Re-Use Surgical Masks:

Some masks can be re-used, but cleaning them is very important. One way to do this is by ‘steam cleaning.’ Boil a sauce pan of water and find a way to hold your mask over the steaming water for 10 minutes, do not let the mask become saturated. (see photo )It needs to be ‘air-dried’ thoroughly afterward. Once a mask is visibly damaged or badly soiled, dispose of it safely.

steam clean surgical mask
                   One method of steam cleaning Surgical Mask

 

Video showing the benefits of wearing a face mask to combat Coronavirus.

lloydspharmacy.com


UK Government Advice On Face Masks:

The UK government initially said the wearing of face masks could not protect people. Scientists provide advice to the government, ministers ultimately decide. Still, it has revised its guidance and is now recommending people wear face coverings.

This advice is recommended for people who cannot remain two metres apart in settings such as small shops and public transport. Transport For London had also advised those still reliant on buses and the Tube network to wear face masks.


Surgical Facemasks

Click – Surgical Face Masks – Available In Stock


European countries, including Germany and Italy, have said people should wear masks in such public settings. Tourists will be expected to wear masks in shops and on public transport and taxis will only take two people at a time.

At the outset of the pandemic, which started in China, there was a scramble to buy face masks in Hong Kong, where people recollect the SARS impact. Sadly Hong Kong suffered 298 deaths from SARS, second only to mainland China. The territory has so far only reported four fatalities from COVID-19 (at the date of publishing).

People walking around without a face mask in Hong Kong, Japan, or North Korea is seen as irresponsible. Several US states are now advising people to wear them when out.

face covering at work


Men Less Likely To Wear Face Masks:

Men are more likely than women to view the wearing of a face mask as ‘shameful’ and not ‘cool’ and that the wearing of a face-covering is a sign of ‘weakness.’ Also, men are more likely to express negative emotions and stigma when wearing a face-covering mask.

It is thought that men are less likely to wear face masks when in public to protect against COVID-19 because it is a ‘sign of ‘weakness.’ Researchers established that more men than women believe that wearing a face mask is ‘shameful’ and not ‘cool,’ this came from a survey of 2,459 people living in the USA.

Participants were asked if they intended to wear a face mask outside the home, engaging in social activities and when around people from another household. The findings revealed that men were less willing to wear a face mask outside the home than women.

It was found that women were more likely to wear face masks during essential activities than men. The study also found that men have fewer intentions to wear a face-covering than women, especially in countries where the wearing of face-covering is not mandatory.

Research does show that both men and women were more willing to wear masks if they live in countries where the law stated they had to.

One reason men are less inclined to wear a face-covering is that they believe that they will be less affected by Covid-19 than women. That is contradicting because official statistics show that coronavirus impacts men more seriously than women.


Preventive Measures for COVID-19 Disease According To WHO:

Mask Law

Based on current evidence, the COVID-19 virus is transmitted between people through close contact and droplets. Airborne transmission may occur during aerosol-generating procedures and support treatments (e.g., tracheal intubation, non-invasive ventilation, tracheotomy, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, manual ventilation before intubation, bronchoscopy)1; thus, WHO recommends airborne precautions for these procedures.

For all, the most effective preventive measures include:

  • maintaining physical distance (a minimum of 1metre) from other individuals;
  • performing hand hygiene frequently with an alcohol-based hand rub if available and if your hands are not visibly dirty or with soap and water if hands are dirty;
  • avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth;
  • practicing respiratory hygiene by coughing or sneezing into a bent elbow or tissue and then immediately disposing of the tissue;
  • wearing a medical mask if you have respiratory symptoms and performing hand hygiene after disposing of the mask;
  • routine cleaning and disinfection of environmental and other frequently touched surfaces. Source: who.int

Your Thoughts On Wearing Face Masks?

Have you considered wearing face-masks when out in public? If you have, have you encountered problems with buying face masks? Have you had to resort to making your face mask, do you feel as safe going out using a homemade face mask? Please leave any comments or questions below, and I will be happy to discuss them with you.



 

Keeping Your Hands Healthy During A Pandemic

Ladies Hand Sequence

No doubt you have seen and heard The Department of Health & Social Care, and the World Health Organisation frequently advising us to wash our hands or use hand sanitizer gels in a bid to stop the spread of COVID-19. The problem you will get from excessive hand washing and using hand sanitizer is that your hands become dry and irritated.

Stop The Spread:

Wash Your Hands To Stop Infection

Frequent hand washing is crucial in the fight to stop the spread of the Coronavirus. However, this can lead to damage to the outermost layer of skin (the stratum corneum) if we don’t take supplementary measures. We must all keep our hands clean and free from the virus but, remember to protect the skin at the same time. If you continue to keep the hands clean but don’t look after the surface, you could end up with dry, damaged skin.

It’s essential to keep the skin nourished, so it’s there as an effective barrier. To help you keep your hands healthy, we’ve looked into the most suitable hand cream ingredients and what they do. We also offer tips for looking after your hands, so that the surface continues to appear young and elegant, and keeping your hands healthy during a Pandemic.


How Hand Cream Works:

Applying Cream To Dry Hands

We all know how general wear and tear leaves the skin on our hands feeling like cardboard by the end of the day. Another of the leading causes of dehydrated hands is when they are exposed to the elements. When you add to this to the increased, and hopefully by now, regular washing, it can cause severe dryness and irritation. The use of a good quality hand cream will help to restore and protect the skin, leaving it feeling moisturized and hydrated.

If you are applying hand moisturizer throughout the day, you do not want your hands to feel greasy so that you can’t even pick up a pen! Look for a hand cream that hydrates but soaks into the skin that allows you can pick up items without them slipping through your fingers!

Here you will find the different ingredients in a typical hand cream that should keep your skin nourished and healthy. We also advise on how to look after your hands while Coronavirus is widespread.


Click To Read Our Recommendations On – Intensive Hand Creams

 


 What’s In Your Hand Cream:

Hand Cream Ingredients

Humectants are one of the three crucial ingredients you’ll find in hand moisturizer, along with occlusives and emollients. The way they work by drawing water from the air and into the skin. Glycerine is a common humectant. It has three hydrophilic (water-loving) alcohol endings, and why it attracts water so effectively.

It also provides skincare products such as hand creams, a soft, creamy skin-feel – although too much of it can be a bad thing and make a product feel sticky. Other humectants you find in hand creams include butylene glycol, urea, sorbitol, honey, aloe vera, sea salt (Maris sal), and wheat proteins.

Occlusives form a protective ‘physical’ barrier on the surface of the skin to seal water in and prevent it from evaporating or ‘extracted’ by secondary factors such as the cold, wind, or frequent hand-washing. They can also leave the skin feeling greasy and heavy on the surface (petroleum jelly is a good example).

Dimethicone is a popular synthetic occlusive that provides an effective barrier without feeling ‘heavy’ on the skin. It allows a hand cream to feel smooth and flow from the bottle for easy application. Dimethicone is like a liquid plastic seal to help with the skin’s barrier function. It also helps with lubrication, allowing the moisturizer to fill the gaps between the skin cells. Other popular occlusives include beeswax and liquid paraffin.

Emollients soften the skin and stop the skin from drying out in reduced humidity environments or after cleansing. Shea butter is a suitable alternative that serves as an occlusive too. Some other emollients you will find include myristyl alcohol, capric triglyceride (made from coconut oil), and lanolin Emulsifiers. These help to stabilize mixtures of oil and water-based substances by reducing the surface tension of the ingredients from being emulsified so that they blend.


Surgical Facemasks

Click – Surgical Face Masks – Available In Stock 


If they are not present, you may find water forming towards the bottom of a jar or tube and oil gathering towards the top. Common emulsifying ingredients include glyceryl stearate, glyceryl stearate citrate, lecithin, carbomer, and beeswax. Sensory modifiers convert an unfavorable sensation into a more pleasing one. They include ‘slip modifiers’ or ‘absorbents,’ which help to give hand creams a silky skin-feel as well as excellent oil absorption.

One such slip modifier is tapioca-starch, a modified starch that emanates from the root of the cassava plant that helps ingredients to flow more conveniently from the bottle or tube. If you are regularly applying hand cream, a sensory modifier should mean not having to deal with a greasy residue. Other sensory modifiers include talc and kaolin.

Stabilizers are used in conjunction with emulsifiers to help stop products from separating into their water-based and oil-based components. Sodium carbomer is a synthetic stabilizer and rheology modifier that helps with the viscosity of a skincare product. In essence, your hand cream should have the texture you expect and want from it.

The slight downside, it does have potential environmental consequences. Sodium carbomers are microplastics, which are microscopic (less than 5mm) synthetic polymer particles that are like microbeads, but smaller and finer. They also resist biodegradation. A more eco-friendly substitute for sodium carbomer is xantham gum, which is a natural, sugar-based polymer.

Preservatives added to keep skincare products at their best by eradicating microorganisms, including fungi, bacteria, and yeast. These could taint your cosmetic products and reduce their shelf life. One such ingredient is Phenoxyethanol; it’s synthetically made and works by damaging the cells of the unwanted microorganisms and prevents mold from developing on the inside of the top.

Fragrance, how a hand cream smells can make or break it for some people. Linalool is a typical fragrance in cosmetics; this has a floral aroma similar to lavender and bergamot. It’s a naturally occurring terpene alcohol, but can also be produced synthetically found in many flowers. These ingredients can be allergens, and this is why they are listed.


 

Hand Sanitiser & Wipes
                    Anti-bacterial Gel & Surface Wipes – View Products On – allbeauty.com

Looking after your hands during the COVID-19 Pandemic:

Ladies Elegant Hands

It’s quite simple; all you have to do is to wash them frequently. Hand washing is the best thing you can do to protect from Coronavirus because it physically removes it if it’s on the skin. Wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds, making sure not to forget your wrists and the backs of your hands too.

Use hand sanitizer gel (when hand washing isn’t possible). A gel is preferable to a liquid formula because it remains on the skin for longer and, therefore, more likely to kill pathogens. You may want to look for non-greasy formulations for use during the day. Products containing sensory modifiers like tapioca starch, rice starch, or corn starch do tend to help to lessen the greasiness of a product. Lotions are lighter and more easily absorbed into the skin than creams, and these are good to use during the day when you wash your hands more frequently.

Apply thick hand cream at night. Put a rich hand cream on at night and use it as a night mask for your hands. Doing this, you will help to nourish the skin during the night. Doing this helps to repair the surface if you don’t like to moisturize during the day, or you forget to do so.

Are you struggling to find a hand cream? If you are, a regular moisturizer will also work. Some have very similar formulations. An example of this is Aveeno Skin Relief Body Moisturiser that has an identical list of ingredients to its hand cream version. The price is comparable for more than twice the amount of product (200ml vs. 75ml).

If your skin is dehydrated, cracked, or irritated, talk to a pharmacist about alternatives, as a standard hand cream may not be adequate to deal with the problem.


Conclusion:

Apply Hand Cream At Night

It can’t be emphasized enough the importance of keeping your hands clean. It’s still the number one thing you can do to protect yourself and others from contracting Coronavirus.

But, it’s equally important that you don’t neglect the moisturizing side too. Increased hand washing and the use of hand gel that often contains alcohol can be drying for your skin. Putting a rich moisturizer on overnight and moisturizing after washing your hands should help to keep hands looking young.

Do you suffer from dry hands and irritated skin? How do care and look after them? Do you have any other tips for caring for your hands? Please leave any comments or questions below, and I will be happy to discuss them with you.