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Face masks 101: Not all masks can protect against COVID-19

Posted at 11:10 PM, Mar 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-28 02:10:14-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — As the shortage continues here in the valley for surgical masks, several people are creating their own, either to protect themselves or to donate them to healthcare providers and first responders.

RELATED: Chinese American groups donate medical supplies to Las Vegas valley hospitals

Even some local companies, like Polar Shades, are now producing gowns and will start soon making masks.

But according to the World Health Organization, they do not completely protect against the novel coronavirus.

"If you don't have any respiratory symptoms, such as fever, cough or a runny nose, you do not need to wear a medical mask like this," said Dr. April Balter, from the WHO Health Emergencies Program.

"Masks alone can give you a false feeling of protection and can even be a source of infection when not used correctly," Dr. Balter continued.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend the general public wear N95 masks unless they are a health provider, as there's a shortage and need to be fitted appropriately to avoid any leakage that could lower its effectiveness against COVID-19.

Even if you decide to use a medical mask, health authorities say the some of the best protection you can take are very simple, like washing your hands and practicing social distancing.