As temperatures get colder and people move indoors, doctors are urging people to pay attention to wearing masks inside – and the types of face wear they wear.
In a tweet sent to social media, Canada’s best doctor, Dr. Theresa Tam, reminds people to take another look at mask guidance, including learning which masks are useful in different scenarios.
“[Did you know] Are there different types of masks for public use? “she tweeted.” Medical masks, non-medical masks and respirators can all be used in society. “
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has recently modified its mask information website to include the updated advice.
“While non-medical masks may help prevent the spread of COVID-19, medical masks and respirators provide better protection,” PHAC wrote on its website.
Respiratory protection was previously only recommended for healthcare professionals who came into direct contact with infectious patients. In these cases, a fittest was required. However, updated guidance on the site notes that “a respirator worn in the community does not need a fit test.”
Island pharmacist Lindsay Dixon says the new guidelines for medical masks should ensure protection against aerosol transfer of COVID-19.
“Think of cigarette smoke, or if you see someone outside and they’re breathing in it – there’s really cold air, you can see that vapor coming out of their mouth, and that’s what aerosols are,” she explained. “So it makes sense that if the virus is transmitted via aerosol, a higher quality mask like an N95 respirator will protect you much better than just a fabric mask.”
In Europe, some countries have dropped fabric masks in favor of surgical masks, but Dixon says they have flaws unless they fit well.
“You want to look at fit, filtering and function,” Dixon said. “So if the mask can be mounted on your face and form a seal as much as possible, then yes, it’s going to work better. But it does not have to be perfect.”
Meanwhile, the intensive care units at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital are full of patients with COVID-19, according to Dr. David Forrest.
“It still breaks my heart to see people come in who are unvaccinated and think there are terrible side effects of the vaccine. And die of respiratory failure. It is unnecessary.”
The concern now, said Dr. At the forefront is the transmission of the Delta variant when people gather indoors for the holidays.
“It is still important that we take other measures to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus. One of the most important of these is to wear masks.”
READ MORE: BC extends mandate for indoor mask indefinitely
With files from CBC News