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3 Tips for Wearing a Mask to Stop the Corona Virus

1. Not necessarily have to choose an expensive mask.

If you are financially burdened to buy a KF94 mask, a cheap and breathable KF80 mask is sufficient. The most important purpose of wearing a mask is to reduce the amount and velocity of saliva that protrudes when splashing. In order to prevent the spread of the virus it is important to filter out the droplets rather than the virus particles themselves. KF80 filters out 80% of the ultrafine dust below 2.5 micrometers. However, most of the droplets that carry the corona virus (COVID-19) are more than 5 micrometers in size. This means that most of the droplets can be filtered out with a KF80 grade mask. Some people still ask if microparticles can leak into the tiny gaps in the mask filter. To answer that question, the amount of virus so delivered is extremely small. If the total amount of virus can be reduced, infection does not occur. Therefore, proper blockage of the saliva can prevent the spread of the corona virus.

2. Don’t wear the mask once.

Some people say that eight hours is the effective time of the mask. But that’s just the standard in dusty workplaces. More importantly, most commercial masks are for fine dust. It is not designed to target COVID-19 drops. When the fine dust mask is wrinkled or passes a day or two, the filtering effect using static electricity is weakened. However, the ability to filter saliva droplets remains largely intact, even when the fine dust filtering effect is diminished. Therefore, if the mask is not damaged by the naked eye, use for more than a week can help spread the corona virus. When it’s hard to find a mask on the market these days, there’s no reason to replace the mask every day with a new one.

3. Wear your mask thoroughly when you are indoors rather than outdoors.

It is unlikely that the virus will spread through the air outside. Therefore, masks should be used thoroughly in confined spaces such as offices, elevators, cars, and subways. In particular, it is extremely wrong to take off your mask to communicate well to others during a conversation. COVID-19 multiply in the upper airway mucosa rather than in the lungs. Therefore, not only coughing, but also a situation where the saliva pops out while speaking, is dangerous to the other person. Even if you feel stifling, you should wear a mask when you speak at close range.

31 thoughts on “3 Tips for Wearing a Mask to Stop the Corona Virus”

    1. Compared to the recommended conditions for mask disinfection ’30 minutes at 158 degrees Fahrenheit ‘, 160 degrees Fahrenheit does not differ significantly. I don’t think there’s such a big problem.

  1. Can I disinfect my mask using a stainless steel stock pot with a stainless steel steaming basket? Should it be covered with a lid when steaming? How should the mask be positioned? Should the inside of the mask face downward or upward?

    1. A pot with a lid rather than a pot without a lid will be suitable for heating the mask as a whole. This is because if the pot is not sealed with a lid, the part of the mask exposed outside the atmosphere may not be heated to a temperature sufficient for disinfection. In addition, it is recommended to thoroughly disinfect the mask both inside and outside.

  2. Hi
    i am surprised you need to leave it for so long at that heat to disarm the virus would it not be deactivated at 60 degrees centigrade so that it will be unable to attack, an intresting observation I have had as I have slight energetic feelings and dare I say that if a person with covid symptoms comes near me I can feel it like pricking and even when they have left it stays in the air but if the air has been heated by an electric fan heater for 30 minutes in closed room as the cold air will go through the element it feels a lot better, unfortunately in the uk they have made all people with symptoms of covid stay at home and also the rest of family which is so daft as the rest of family are at very great risk and the kids are the ones which are spreading it

    1. Proper masking can prevent getting viruses as well as giving them. Even if the size of the particles that the mask filter can block is larger than the size of the virus, it can effectively prevent the virus from being delivered in the form of droplets.

    1. I don’t know much about clothing steamers. However, if the inside is kept clean and can be maintained for more than 30 minutes at 158 degrees Fahrenheit (70 degrees Celsius) or higher, I suggest that you can also use a clothing steamer.

      1. I’m confused as to why you can’t just douse it with Lysol and hang it overnight to dry. Any fumes would be gone overnight. Why would that not be effective?

        1. It may be effective for disinfecting the surface of an object, but I am not sure if its main or other ingredients left in the mask are safe when inhaled into the human body in the form of a fine residue.

  3. Dr. Shin, I am still unclear as to whether or not you think that the oven method is a viable option.

    I have seen recommendations of the following method for cleaning a mask: โ€˜putting in an oven on low heat(158 F) for 30 minutes. Masks cleaned this way keep 97% of their ability to screen out small particles such as viruses.โ€™

    Please clarify, as your above post seems to be addressing the steam method??

    Thanks so much for your time.

    1. The virus is effectively removed after putting the mask at 158 degrees Fahrenheit (70 degrees Celsius) for 30 minutes. In some cultures, cooking steamers are more common than ovens. Cooking steamers are mentioned together for those who need this information. Again, heating the mask at 158 degrees Fahrenheit (70 degrees Celsius) for 30 minutes is an effective method of disinfection.

    1. It is hard to say exactly how long the virus has remained on the mask surface. It is recommended to disinfect the mask surface with an appropriate method, or if it is not possible, assume that virus remains on the mask surface and do not touch it.

    1. To answer the question of whether it is effective, yes, it is absolutely effective in protecting you from coronavirus.

      Regarding how to reuse it, you can follow the method of reusing other masks.

  4. Excellent info. In your opinion, do you think you can trust the products you buy in the supermarket or should you disinfect them too? Should you change your shoes when you come from the supermarket? Is the main transmission method aerosol or surface transmission in your opinion?

    1. Since there are so many types of masks on the market, it is difficult to provide a standard as to whether you can trust and use the masks you have purchased. However, it is recommended to use certified products. In particular, some Korean masks are KF certified. While N95 is a US industrial standard, KF certification is for health purposes only. Using a KF94 or KF80-rated mask is sufficient to block coronavirus. For more information on KF masks, please click here.

      It’s not recommended to disinfect your shoes after going out, but if you’re seriously concerned, leave a bleach-soaked mat on the front door of your home. And when you get home, rub the bottom of your shoes there. Click here for instructions on how to disinfect areas suspected of coronavirus contamination.

      The possibility of aerosol infection cannot be ruled out. However, the current most important route of infection is thought to be cough droplet infection and contact infection.

  5. Thank you! They were downplaying masks here in the US because of supply shortages. Their complaints never made any sense to me.

    And tips for what to store a cheaper N95? Ziplock bag? Tuperware?

    Inthink I will bake my mask. I guess that is a cookie sheet I wonโ€™t be using for food again!

    1. Mask shortage is an important social consideration, but it should not be a reason to ignore the importance of masks in virus prevention.

      It is better to store the mask in an open place where clean air is ventilated rather than in a closed container such as a zipper bag or Tupperwear.

      And you said about the equipment that bakes cookies, but the disinfection method I mentioned is not baking. I’m talking about heating with hot steam. Steam heating and baking are different. Baking can damage the mask.

    1. Currently, the most realistic method is to store the mask in a clean storage area and not use it too long. When removing and re-using the mask, be sure not to touch the outer surface of the mask.

      Portable UV disinfection equipment is also recommended if you are financially feasible. Viruses are destroyed even in less than a minute of UV exposure.

      I also suggest using a home cooking steamer. If using a cooking steamer, the mask should be heated to a high temperature for at least 20 minutes. This is based on the same principle as autoclaves, which are standard when disinfection is required in the laboratory.

      And while using ethanol is a method that needs a bit more discussion, it’s worth trying if you have no other alternative.

      A method that is never recommended is to use a microwave oven. This is because the metal wire in the mask can cause problems when the microwave oven is operating.

      I plan to post a comprehensive summary of how to reuse a mask and its rationale. Subscribe to this blog to receive it.

      1. References here in the U.S. recommend this method for cleaning a mask: ‘putting in an oven on low heat(158 F) for 30 minutes. Masks cleaned this way keep 97% of their ability to screen out small particles such as viruses.’ They also recommend steaming as an alternative: ‘Holding over boiling water for 10 minutes kills germs and preserves 95% of the maskโ€™s ability to filter viruses.’

        1. Thanks for sharing the good information.

          But there are one thing to keep in mind. If you hold the mask over the boiling water, there is a risk of burns to your bare hands. Except for that, I agree that the method you referenced is a reasonable and recommended.

      2. If the virus is killed in under a minute with exposure to UV why then would 20 minutes or so under direct sunlight not be sufficient? I realize you are referring to an special UV lamp designed to emit a specific ‘disinfecting’ wavelength somewhere well below 600nm, but this wavelength is also plentiful in sunlight. As long as the mask was facing up and protected from damage while sunbathing, it should work. Yes? As the saying goes, sunlight is the best disinfectant.

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