Masks For Another 2 Years? Experts Say Yes Until Vaccine Is Ready & Administered
The federal government's "30 Days To Slow The Spread" expired May 1, with no plans to extend it. It's now up to everyone to keep up the hard work and contain COVID-19.
There is little doubt among experts that masks will remain part of everyday life (possibly until 2022) at least until a few or all large obstacles are cleared. And they mean before a vaccine is available. Proof of a successful vaccine will be a time of unimaginable celebration but you won't be tossing your masks in the air. Administering a vaccine to 330 million people (US population) could take up to 12 months.
Meanwhile, each governor is calling the shots on the plan to reopen their state. CNN provides a great source for information on all states with frequent updates.
Why You Need A Better Mask
New discoveries on how COVID-19 damages and overcomes the body of people of all ages is just one good reason why the quality of your mask matters. Fortunately KN95 masks that are FDA-registered and meet Europe's CE guideline are affordable and easy to test so you can feel safe about your protection.
COVID-19 testing has ramped up and so far, results have shown that more people than previously expected have been exposed and apparently recovered.
On the positive side, when the revised infection and recovery data is factored in, the death rate drops.
What is concerning, however, is that this widespread infection rate could mean that coronavirus incubation and transmissibility periods extend past 14 days.
Additionally high-risk categories, the elderly and people with low immunity, still face potentially severe or fatal consequences if they are infected.
Nose & Mouth Are COVID-19's Way In
COVID-19 gets into the body by attaching to ACE-2 protein receptors which are abundant in mucosal membranes in the nose, mouth and lungs. Treatments and vaccine research are focusing on this entry as a way to defeat COVID-19.
COVID-19 Putting Children In The ICU
Gastric issues, including diarrhea have been added to the list of early warning signs. Just last week, on April 27, the UK issued a warning stating the nation's hospitals were seeing a small number of COVID-19 cases in children requiring admission to the ICU due to multiple inflammation of organs, similar to symptoms of toxic shock syndrome.
Strokes From COVID-19 In 30-44 Age Range
Meanwhile, COVID-19 is still killing or permanently damaging the health of all ages. Recent news shows it can thicken blood causing large and/or multiple blood clots throughout the body.
After piecing together patient data worldwide, medical experts have agreed there is a pattern. COVID-19 is attacking the blood and sometimes skipping the respiratory system, heading straight to the brain and kidneys but researchers are not sure why.
"All physicians have noticed that the rates of clotting are astronomically high," said Dr. Hooman Poor, Mount Sinai Director of Pulmonary Vascular Disease. "When they have dialysis they require a catheter and the rates of these catheters clotting off is extraordinarily high."
Autopsy results in some cases are revealing multiple blood clots in the lungs. Called pulmonary embolisms, they are the cause of death in these patients and not pneumonia as the doctors had thought.
Large vessel blood clots called deep vein thrombosis have also caused sudden death from strokes, or in the case of 41-year-old Broadway actor Nick Cordero, required severe medical intervention. Cordero's leg was amputated after a large clot formed. There was too much risk that it could move to his heart or lungs and kill him. Large vessel strokes do not generally affect people until their 70s.
Although blood clots are always a risk when patients are in the ICU for long periods, doctors have pointed out that these clots are severe and have been occurring in people who are not hospitalized. In response, revised treatment guidelines recommend early intervention with blood thinners when patients with COVID-19 enter ICU, unless due to the patient's history, the risk of the medicine outweighs the benefit.
Early Signs Of Stroke
In a letter published in the New England Journal of Medicine, a team of doctors at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, NY, detail 5 coronavirus-related strokes in young patients. The doctors say the patients may have had better outcomes if medical intervention had been sooner.
Strokes occur when a blood clot lodges in the brain cutting off oxygen. If you experience any of the signs below, call 911 immediately. Do not wait. Every second counts. Even if you have these sudden symptoms and then they pass call, 911 immediately. You may have had a transient ischemic action (TIA), which means that a clot lodged and then passed. You must be immediately monitored as another stroke can quickly follow at that moment or future. Visit the American Stroke Association for more information.
Symptoms of stroke:
- Sudden numbness or weakness especially on one side of the body
- Sudden dizziness, difficulty standing or walking
- Sudden confusion, difficulty speaking or understanding speech
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
First your KN95 mask should arrive to you in a sealed package. Secondly look for the FDA-registered and CE certified stamps on the packaging and/or the mask.
KN95 masks are required to filter at least 95% of particles that are 3 microns or larger and meet strict fit requirements. Sans an at-home lab, below are three tests you can perform to provide some assurance of your mask's quality.
Put on your mask and test its fit as instructed here,* then follow the next 3 steps:
- Empty a packet of Sweet and Low/saccharin on the spoon and sniff it. Saccharin particles are about 7 seven microns in size. You should not be able to smell the saccharin. To make sure you can recognize the smell, give it a sniff before you put on the mask.
- Next, place a lit lighter about six inches from your face. You should not be able to blow it out. If you can, then your mask may not be authentic.
- Test your mask's water resistance. Hold the mask by the elastic bands and place it beneath a faucet with the inside of the mask facing up. The mask should hold the water like a cup. Leaking indicates the mask is not offering the protection expected of a KN95 mask.
*KN95 masks are not the same as N95 masks. The page is meant for reference or general instruction use only.
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