Omicron: Which Mask Will Better Protect You Against the Deadly Variant
We already know that masks are one of the best ways to protect ourselves and others from the COVID-19 virus. But with the advent of a new version of Omicron, researchers have discovered that not all masks are created equal. Since the Omicron variant is so popular, doctors may need to rethink which masks to wear in public. In this article, we will be exclusively discussing the best mask to protect against Omicron Variant.
Jeremy Biggs, MD, MSPH is an Associate Professor of Occupational and Environmental Health at the University of Utah Health and an expert on organizational masks. Here are tips for choosing a mask during the Omicron outbreak.
Is the canvas mask enough to protect against the Omicron variant?
Cloth masks are better than no masks but not as good as triple surgical masks, KN95, or N95 respirators to protect against all variants.
If you only have access to the canvas mask, should you duplicate it?
Not necessarily. If it’s already a two-layer or three-layer canvas mask, I wouldn’t recommend this. If it’s a single-layer canvas mask, doubling it makes sense. It is also recommended to wash it every day. You can wash it in the sink in your bathroom with hot soapy water and hang it to dry.
Are the paper masks you can buy at grocery and retail stores effective? Should they be duplicated?
Triple surgical masks provide protection, but there is no evidence that doubling will help.
We hear more about the N95 and KN95 masks. Does this mask offer better protection against Omicron?
N95 and KN95 masks are more suitable for all variants of COVID-19 if worn and installed properly. They are often slightly narrower than surgical masks and the material also filters out more particles, so air flowing through the material is filtered better than around the mask.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) does not certify KN95. They certify N95, a negative pressure breathing apparatus. High-quality N95 masks have a label on the package stating that they are FDA and NIOSH-approved. According to the CDC, you can verify that your mask is NIOSH approved by searching the list of NIOSH-certified equipment. For KN95 masks, make sure the brand has been tested by the CDC. You can also check the CDC’s list of potential counterfeiters.
Can you reuse a KN95 mask?
Yes, you can reuse it, but I would recommend turning it upside down and leaving the mask on for about a day before using it again. This mask is not washable.
Do you need eye protection with this flood?
Omicron spreads in the air and can survive, especially in poorly ventilated areas. People who work in the health sector must wear safety glasses to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This is because they are exposed to patients with the virus and they are in an area with higher levels of the virus in the air. Currently, the CDC does not recommend eye protection for the general public, but it is harmless. I also recommend avoiding touching your eyes unless you have washed or disinfected your hands beforehand.
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Should you assume that you will find the Omicron option in a public place?
Yeah, that’s a good guess at the moment. The bottom line is that everyone should wear a high-quality mask, wash their hands frequently, and avoid crowded public places. And of course, getting vaccinated, sleeping well, eating healthy, and exercising.
The CDC provides mask advice to people who want to learn more about what type of mask is right for them.