Coronavirus UK: Do face masks work and can they protect us against virus symptoms?

11 February 2020, 15:28

Can face masks really protect us from coronavirus? Experts reveal all
Can face masks really protect us from coronavirus? Experts reveal all. Picture: PA

Will wearing a surgical face mask protect me from coronavirus? How do they work? Here’s everything you need to know as death toll rises over 1,000 worldwide.

Coronavirus in the UK has lead to a nationwide shortage of hand sanitiser and face masks - but can wearing something like a surgical mask really protect you?

As everyone searches for ways to protect themselves from the coronavirus symptoms, it seems face masks have become one of the most popular methods as chemists, stores such as Boots, and even Amazon find themselves selling out.

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But can they protect us from illnesses like this virus? And how do they work? Here’s everything you need to know about how effective they are:

Face masks are selling out amid the coronavirus outbreak
Face masks are selling out amid the coronavirus outbreak. Picture: PA

Can surgical face masks protect us from coronavirus?

With face masks being the top purchase for those worried about the virus, it seems sadly, that they’re not an effective way for protecting us.

Health experts have have said masks, including the surgical kind, will still allow bacteria to reach the face as they can’t completely close off the mouth and nose due to poor fitting. They also don’t have an air-type filter and viruses can also be contracted through eyes.

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

However, the virus can also be spread through touching of the mouth, nose and eyes which the mask can somewhat limit, but is obviously not a fool-proof method.

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.

Health experts don't believe face masks are effective enough
Health experts don't believe face masks are effective enough. Picture: PA

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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