With no vaccine face masks are regarded as the main weapon in the fight against coronavirus. Though the face mask cannot fight the new coronavirus when used alone. When you wear them you must combine with hand hygiene and other preventive measures. In many countries including China, it is forbidden to be on the street without a face mask. Researchers have divided opinions on the use and effectiveness of masks to stop the spread of novel coronavirus.
People are growing concern about their risk of getting the infection. And are doing whatever they can to prevent themselves from this virus. Shortly after the initial outbreak in January images came out from China where the novel coronavirus is believed to be initiated. It showed many people wearing face masks. Since then all over the world wearing a face mask is new normal.
Is Face Mask Really Effective?
The answer to this question is much trickier then you think. An infectious disease expert at Johns Hopkins center Dr. Amesh Adalja says, ” Face mask can help protect against many respiratory infections that spread through the droplet route”. This also includes the novel coronavirus and the flu. These infections spread from an infected person to others through droplets sneezed in the air. Coronavirus is highly contagious and also spreads by touching a contaminated object and then touching your mouth, eyes, or nose. Thus wearing a face mask prevent the droplets from entering your nose or mouth. But achieving an adequate seal to the face is essential otherwise wearing a mask will be useless.
Are Children And Older People At Greater Risk To COVID-19?
People of all ages can be infected by COVID-19. However, children, older people, and those with pre-existing medical conditions are at risk of getting severely ill. According to the data estimated by China, COVID-19 proves to be deadly to persons with a weak immune system. This is such because older immune systems tend to be less efficient in fighting against viral infections. The kids with a slightly underdeveloped immune system, older people, and those having pre-existing medical conditions fall under this category.
How Symptoms Of COVID-19 Different In Kids/Children?
The Novel Coronavirus is a wide range of disease severity experienced by patients. The effects and symptoms of infections in patients are contrasting. Depending on the age people show slightly different symptoms.
2. Continuous Coughing (within 24hrs 3 or more coughing episodes).
3. Stiff Neck.
4. Rashes that does not fade when you press a glass Against it.
5. Seizure or fits.
6. Reddish purple rashes on foot toe or Foot Sores
7. A weak or high pitched cry that’s not usual.
8. Extremely agitated(does not stop crying or confused).
9. The child finds it hard to breathe.
Find below the different symptoms of COVID-19 and how they are different from flu and allergies
Shortness Of Breath
Yes (Often Severe)
Yes (Dry Cough)
Rare (Initial Stage)
Rare (initial Stage)
Yes (often Severe)
Rare (Initial Stage)
Why Kids Should Wear A Mask?
By now, people all around the globe have accepted that wearing a face mask is a new normal. Because face mask with hand sanitizer and personal hygiene are the best line of defense against the novel coronavirus. The purpose of wearing a mask is dual, firstly protecting the wearer from the respiratory droplets of surrounding people and secondly capturing the respiratory droplets of wearer protecting the nearby people.
Every rational adult is quite informed and has accepted advice shared by the medical community. But when it comes to face masks for children, everyone seems to be less informed and rational. Though the probability of getting infected is no less. According to Dr. Hana Hakim (MD, MS, CIC), an associate member of the Department of Infectious Diseases and the medical director of the Infection Prevention and Control Program with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, it is kids who need to wear the masks. “The Available info about COVID-19 tells that children tend to have mild or no symptoms while being infected by the virus”. He further added that the children spread the virus without unknowingly. Thus kids wearing a face mask will not only protect them but will also stop the virus from spreading.
Best Mask For kids
Face masks are cheap, easy, and potentially effective equipment for protecting oneself from the hardships of coronavirus. Wearing a face mask not only protects you but will also break the chain by stopping the virus from spreading. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention appealed to wear a face mask in public when obtaining essential services. Generally, there are three types of masks we can differentiate
1. Respirators (N95, N99, N100)
These are also called the filtering facepiece or FFP masks that fits snugly around the nose, mouth, and chin. These are the most effective masks that filter out the tiniest airborne particles. The exhalation valve makes breathing easier but increases the risk of viruses escaping. Thus an unvalved FFP mask protects both the wearer and the person they encounter. And with a valve, it only protects the wearer. With the cases increases rapidly the FFP mask should be mainly reserved for medical personnel. Moreover, an FFP mask will not fit your kid.
2. Surgical Mask
The mask mostly seen nowadays is a simple protective face piece for the mouth and nose known as a surgical mask. It consists of several layers of paper or nonwoven fabric with a thin wire to make it fit over the nose. The surgical catches the larger droplets when the wearer sneezes or coughs. But on inhalation air also flows in from the sides that means it mainly protects other people rather than the wearer. The surgical masks once wet from breathing after eight hours at the most it has to be discarded.
3. Cloth Mask
In the COVID-19 crisis, professionally manufactured masks are in short supply that led people all around the world to revving up their sewing machine. A textile mask generally functions as a protective mask that is less efficient in blocking the air droplets because of the gaps near the nose, chin. However, a cloth mask can be washed and reused.
NOTE– The most important thing is no matter which masks you or your child wear it can only be effective if used with hygiene measures like maintaining a safe distance and thorough hand washing.
CDC recommends kids below two years of age should avoid wearing a mask. Thus be very sure that the mask doesn’t suffocate the child.
Making A Cloth Mask For Kids
A cloth mask is less efficient in catching the air droplets because of the gaps near the nose and chin. And also due to the porous fabric used to make the mask. But how if you make a cloth mask that snugs your kid’s nose and chin with the best material. It seems to increase the droplet catching ability of the mask. Moreover, an N95 or Surgical mask will not meet the desired purpose if it doesn’t fit properly. which is more likely to happen because an N95 and surgical mask are not available in different sizes.
Watch how to make a mask similar to N95 for kids according to there ages…
Best Material to Make A Face Mask
It is very important to choose the best and safest material while designing a mask for your kids. Cambridge University carried out research on household materials to find out their effectiveness. They measured the percentage of droplets captured and compared it to the surgical mask.
The results were not very surprising with the surgical mask at the tabletop capturing 97%, followed by vacuum cleaner bags, and so on. However, the Vacuum cleaner bags and dish towels were not concluded to be the best materials. Instead, a pillowcase and 100% cotton T-shirt were considered as the best materials.
Why? Kids are very sensitive thus breathability, filtration, and their comfort are an important factor. Comfort isn’t merely a luxury. The more comfortable the kids are the more it will influence them to wear for long.
HOW TO TEST HOUSEHOLD CLOTHS FOR FILTRABILITY AND BREATHABILITY?
- Perform a light test to check the filterability
Take the material and hold it up to bright light. If you see the light between the fibers it’s not a good filter and vice versa.
- Check the Breathability
To do this simply fold over the fabric so it’s double. Hold up it to your mouth and nose and see if you can actually breathe through it.
A good facemask has to have a balance of filtration and breathability.
What To Do If The Kid Is Not Willing To Wear A Mask?
Every parent knows the struggle when it comes to making kids wear masks for longs hours. Psychologist Dr. Ron Stolberg, professor at Alliant International University suggests the following, ”There are two easy steps that parents can take to help young children be more comfortable. First, do lots of practice at home before going out in public. You don’t want the first time they wear a mask to be in an environment where it’s really important to do so”.
Thus making your kid used to wear a mask at the first will make you less stressed when out in public. Dr. Stolberg (co-author of Teaching Kids To Think) also advises, “Let them pick the mask they like best and maybe even decorate it. While you are out, point out all the wonderful masks that people are wearing. There are lots of different styles and designs and by pointing out other people’s masks it normalizes the act of wearing the mask for the child. By making it a game, kids are sheltered from the stressful reasons we have to wear masks in the first place.”
Development Of Vaccine Against COVID-19
COVID-19 is caused by a Coronavirus which is a new virus. The 1st strain of the virus was reported in Wuhan back in December starting or November ending. Back then the virus has proven to be highly contagious and held responsible for taking many lives. Making the coronavirus outbreak the most life-threatening until now. Within 4-5 months coronavirus has made many countries suffer claiming thousands of lives.
As the number of cases is increasing exponentially with over 2 lakh cases being reported daily, the end of the pandemic is nowhere near. Teams of scientists around the world are racing to develop a vaccine to put a full stop to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The excitement of a vaccine has reached to highest flashpoint as every small and big nation is terrified due to its detrimental impact. With the world in desperate need of a vaccine, several countries are trying every bit possible to make it happen.
In the ongoing thrive, Russia has claimed to finish the human trails of the Covid-19 vaccine. Chief researcher Elena Smolyarchuk, who heads the Center for Clinical Research on Medications at Sechenov University, told Russian news agency TASS that the human trials for the vaccine have been completed at the university and they will be discharged soon. Though after the claim, doubts surround Russia’s coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V. Despite the criticism from health officials Russia announced that it has already produced the 1st batch of its vaccine.
The University of Oxford has developed a vaccine ‘chAdOx1 nCoV-19’. The vaccine uses a weakened strain of the common cold virus and is combined with the genetic material of the SARS-CoV-2. The vaccine is currently in phase 3 of its trails conducted across the UK, US, Brazi, and South Africa. Trails are expected to be conducted in India in partnership with the Serum Institute of India by August end. It is considered to be launched for the public in 2020 will be most likely available for public deployment by 2021, as per the reports.
In the US, the Massachusetts- based biotech company Moderna has developed as an RNA based vaccine in collaboration with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Institute Disease. Moderna was the 1st to conduct human testing of its vaccine. The results of Phase I and phase II clinical trials show that the vaccine is safe and provoked immune responses. The Volunteers who got two doses of vaccine had high levels of virus-killing antibodies that exceeded the average levels seen in people who had recovered from COVID-19. Phase III has been conducted from 27 July with the results awaits now. Moderna said that the company is on track to deliver about 500 million doses per year, and possibly up to 1 billion doses per year, starting in 2021.
Sinovac Biotech, a Chinese Biopharmaceutical company, claimed to successfully test the potential vaccine dubbed as PiCoVacc on monkeys. Phase I and II of clinical trials held in Indonesia reveals the vaccine is appeared to be safe and induced detectable antibody-based immune responses in subjects. The candidate vaccine, known as CoronaVac, is among a few potential vaccines that have entered late-stage trails. And is currently undergoing a late-stage trial in brazil.
In India, currently, there are 3 different vaccines tested at different stages. Phase I and phase II of tow of them, developed indigenously by Bharat biotech, in collaboration with the Indian Council Of Medical Research(ICMR) and Zydus Cadia Ltd.
Serum Institute Of India has been permitted for conducting Phase I and phase II human trials of the third vaccine candidate developed by Oxford University.
Masks with hand sanitizers and hygiene serve as frontline warriors though it is recommended to stay home until something is very urgent and you have to go out. The Effectiveness of a homemade face mask can be enhanced by using the best material and maintenance. Make sure the masks perfectly fit the kid otherwise it will be very annoying for them to wear it.