What The Colder Weather and Holiday Season Means For COVID 19
As we are moving into the fall and winter seasons, one thing remains very clear: the COVID-19 pandemic is still very much with us. Although many of us may have begun experiencing mask fatigue or are starting to loosen up our social distancing practices, confirmed cases are not necessarily slowing down in the US as many states are still reporting significant daily numbers of confirmed cases. With colder weather and high travel during the holiday season approaching, we face the potential of a second spike of cases around the country in combination with flu season, allergies, and the ongoing wildfires occurring along the west coast. So how can we keep ourselves and our loved ones safe during this time of uncertainty?
Staying Safe During Holiday Travel
The upcoming holiday season means that many people will be traveling to visit loved ones across the country. This can be a stressful time of year during regular circumstances, much less during a pandemic. As the population becomes more transient during this time of year, there is a very real fear of a spike in cases. While it is imperative that everyone take the necessary precautions while traveling during the pandemic, it is especially important for anyone traveling to a hot spot or red zone to take the steps necessary to protect themselves and those around them from spreading COVID 19.
Here is how to travel safely during COVID 19:
1. Wear Your Mask
We may sound like a broken record at this point, but as it has been proven over the past few months, wearing a face mask significantly reduces your chance of spreading or contracting coronavirus. Many airlines, stores, and even entire cities now require everyone to wear a face mask or facial covering whenever out in public around others. However, it is always good practice to wear a mask even if it is not required.
2. Sanitize Your Hands
Keeping your hands clean helps to reduce the likelihood of spreading or contracting COVID 19 as the virus is able to live on certain surfaces for extended periods of time. Refraining from touching your eyes and face, as well as washing or sanitizing your hands frequently plays a vital role in preventing the spread of illness. This is especially necessary when traveling as you will be exposed to many more surfaces than you normally would in your home and your risk of getting sick increases. Additionally, traveling has been shown to take a toll on your immune system which may make it more difficult to fight off a virus or the flu.
3. Social Distance When Possible
As we know, COVID is spread through person to person contact. Remaining at a safe distance from others will lessen the likelihood of the virus spreading; however, this may be difficult during times of traveling through airports, stopping at gas stations, or when with family. Combining social distancing with wearing your mask and proper personal hygiene is especially important to protect yourself and those around you.
How To Choose The Right Face Mask For You
We understand how confusing it can be trying to navigate choosing the right mask for you and your specific situation and location within the US. To better understand which mask is right for you, we need to take a closer look at the filtration rate of each type of mask as it correlates to the particle size of different viruses and other potentially hazardous aerosol particles.
Particle Size: .125 microns
When looking at the particle sizes of viruses, the first thing it is important to remember is that a virus never travels alone. It will always be attached to a carrier, such as a respiratory droplet. So while the COVID 19 virus is .125 microns alone, it will typically be a minimum of 1.125 microns when released from a contaminated source via respiratory droplets. For this reason, N95 and KN95 masks are great options for protecting yourself against the virus as they protect against particles .3 microns or larger.
Particle Size: 2.5 microns
Amid the ongoing pandemic, the west coast of the United States has been devastated by ongoing wildfires causing many to evacuate their homes and has produced dangerous smoke to travel across the US. Inhaling smoke can cause inflammation in your lungs and air pathways blocking oxygen, and which can lead to respiratory distress or even failure. For this reason, it has been recommended that anyone in the surrounding areas wear a face mask when outside to protect themselves from potential smoke inhalation. As we have previously discussed, one of the most important factors in choosing a mask for preventing the inhalation of smoke is how close to your face the mask sits. So while it is absolutely important to make sure your mask can filter out the smoke particles, it is equally important that the mask does not allow smoke to leak through the sides of the mask.
Additionally, studies have shown that in areas that have been subjected to prolonged smoke exposure, historically will experience a more severe flu season following. Taking this into consideration, our top pick for protecting yourself and loved ones from breathing in harmful smoke would be either a N95 or KN95 mask.
Particle Size: 80+ microns
Flu season is nothing new to us and typically would not require one to wear a mask. However, researchers are saying this year will be a particularly bad flu season and so it is important now more than ever to protect yourself against getting sick. Because many symptoms of influenza and coronavirus overlap it will be difficult to properly determine which you have contracted. But that isn’t the worst of it, when an individual contracts COVID along with another illness, such as the flu, at the same time the severity of each can be much worse. One of the simplest things you can do to stay healthy is to continue wearing your mask throughout this flu season, along with social distancing and washing your hands of course!
Source Ortho is committed to helping keep our customers safe during the coronavirus pandemic. We are proud to offer a wide variety of Personal Protective Equipment for sale to ensure the safety of yourself and your loved ones this holiday season including face masks, hand sanitizer, no contact thermometer, gloves, sanitizing spray, and more. Shop all N95, KN95, and 3 Ply face masks 20% off with code MASK20.