You may think it’s OK to pull your mask down below your nose, when you’re hot or during periods of exertion because, after all, you’re still wearing a mask.
But, according to a report by Men’s Health, new research has found that if the mask isn’t covering both your nose and your mouth, you’re not wearing it in a way that will likely protect you or help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The Men’s Health report cited a new study in the journal Cell, which found that “there are specific areas where COVID-19 is most likely to cause infection.” So, those who are not covering their nose, are failing to protect the area most prevalent to exposure, leaving them far more vulnerable than they may suppose.
Here’s what the study found:
By engineering a SARS-CoV-2 reporter virus that was labeled with a fluorescent protein, researchers were able “to search for and determine the mechanism by which the virus infects the respiratory tract.”
“Interestingly, it was observed that the nasal regions had a higher susceptibility of SARS-CoV-2 infections, with subsequent seeding to the lower respiratory tract due to aspiration,” said Sunitha Posina, MD.
What does this mean?
“The nose holds more potential to become infected compared to the remaining of the respiratory tract (such as the throat and lungs),” Posina said regarding the study’s preliminary finding. “When someone does not wear a mask, they are more likely to become infected when they inhale through their nose,” she explains.
And when a person, who is half-masking, exhales, “they are likely to generate more potent infectious particles than if they exhaled via mouth, given that the nose has cells that have a higher affinity to become infected in comparison to the rest of the respiratory tract,” she said.
According to the report, the study could possibly lead to future exploration of nasal and topical treatments.
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