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Face masks – if you need them, it might be a good idea

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From the CDC’s Clinician’s Terrorism Update comes the question of facemasks to prevent spread of the disease. Of course first line treatment should included hand washing, anti-viral medications, avoiding crowded places, stay at home as much as possible, and the use of facemasks.

The standard facemasks that you see a surgeon wearing is essentially useless in a pandemic situation. The ones you should be looking at are termed N-95 which means that it eliminates 95% of particulate matter which goes down to .3 microns. This is great for bacteria but viruses are thousands of times smaller. What they are good at is preventing you from inhaling someone’s sneeze droplets or coughing spray. Stay at least 6 feet away from infected persons, and make sure that your N-95 mask is tightly fitted.

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