Anti-what? How to buy a super mask

Some new research shows that copper-infused face masks may help with coronavirus strains.

Now days a face mask has become the new norm, and masks that claim to be effective at killing bacteria are becoming increasingly popular, whether they be infused with elements such as silver or copper, or as snoods with special nano coatings. We look at whether copper-infused masks are worth considering, and why they may offer an extra level of protection.

The benefits of Copper

The antibacterial properties of copper have been known for many many years, when the Maya’s used the rust from green copper to sterilize their water as well as to treat wounds. But, it is only in recent years that copper infused medical devices such as plasters and dressings have become readily available.

‘The reason copper is so effective at preventing infection is because of its oligodynamic effect’ say experts. ‘Copper ions rupture and destroy the outer cell membrane of any pathogenic microbe it encounters. By destroying the DNA of a bacteria or virus, it stops replication of those microbes and so avoids the possibility of them becoming resistant to copper, unlike antibiotic treatments where resistance is an increasing problem’.

Some studies have now shown that copper infused dressings can reduce infection, lower the number of post-operative complications and help save hospital resources. This is now especially important as the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) say that wound and surgical infections account for over 15 per cent of all healthcare-associated infections in the UK.

Copper and Covid-19

Although no direct claim can be made by the manufacturers that copper-infused products kill Covid-19, there have been some encouraging findings.

Some new tests conducted in have shown for the first time that the surface material of copper-infused masks can eliminate most of the SARS-Cov-2 virus strains within a very short period of time.

In contrast the surgical masks used in the NHS can have the virus remaining on them for many days. Copper infused fabrics have also been shown to be effective against bovine coronavirus within 10 minutes.

How to buy antimicrobial face masks

There are a few things to consider if you are thinking of buying an antimicrobial face mask.

The difference between antiviral, antibacterial and antimicrobial

“Antibacterial” means it is effective against bacteria but the COVID19 pandemic is caused by a virus this will have no effect on it: a virus is not a microbe.

“Antimicrobial” is a general catch-all term that means it kills microbes but does not mean it is effective against them all.

“Antiviral” means it specifically acts against viruses but as there are so many of these you will need to check the claims being made as to which virus this covers.

Often a mask claims is based on territory, so the very same product can be claimed as anti-viral in one country and not in another country.

 

Check the mask certifications

All genuine face masks should have signed paperwork that proves their authenticity and a certificate that govern their place in the market. In Europe, it’s the CE mark affixed to the product.  

Read the instructions

How to use the mask, how to clean or wash it, how long it may be effective for, and what are the claims it makes.

Don’t count on mask only

Whatever you may choose to wear, masks are not some magical protection  and they must be worn in combination with social distancing, good hygiene and strict adherence to guidelines. The best protection is not to be near a source of infection in the first place!

Now that vaccines are out there, why do I need a mask?

 

Like it or not, masks will remain an integral part of our lives for a long time to come, even as we try to get back to routine. New strains, a seasonal flu, a new nor, is with us (not new if you are Japanese or Chinese). It’s like car safety belts and bicycles helmets – you can live without it but chances are heavily stacked against you if you don’t use this simple and effective means of protections.

 

Ok, I get masks, but why copper?

 

A bunch of manufacturers market “super masks” that is masks that are not your ordinary cloth or “blue” mask. You have masks with iodine, masks with chlorine, masks with zinc and masks with silk. And there’s copper. This ingredient has few outstanding properties. Primarily, copper is the most scientifically researched component. The risk associated with material that underwent 4.5 million patient days in clinical trials with zero adverse effects tells you something. The fact that the FDA registered a couple of copper masks is yet another clear signal of assurance. And then there is the science, the evidence. The potency and efficacy of copper was demonstrated many times over and over. The last study out was co-financed by the US department of health and was conducted by the university of Nebraska (Lincoln). The findings are in our studies section. The bottom line is simple: The virus that cause COVID19 can’t survive on the masks surface.

 

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