Handling Your Mask Properly to Avoid Contamination

Right now, millions of Americans are investing in a protective mask for the first time as part of the fight against the coronavirus.  State officials are beginning to urge citizens to wear a mask whenever they leave their homes, which means that many of us are suddenly forced to choose the right protective mask, despite the fact that the CDC has been largely unclear about how to choose the right one in order to minimize the risk of catching and spreading the virus as much as possible.

Choosing the right face mask, it turns out, is only half the battle.  Your mask can only protect you properly if you handle it correctly in a way that ensures you avoid contamination.  It’s easier to contaminate your mask than you may think, and unfortunately, in some circumstances, a contaminated mask is more dangerous than no mask at all.

Do: Clean Your Mask Properly Whenever You Get Home

Your mask acts as a filtration system that stops virus droplets from entering your mouth and nose.  That means that there’s a chance that your mask is accumulating these viral droplets, and we know that they can linger on surfaces for a period of time.  This is why washing your mask properly when you get home is absolutely essential.  Otherwise, you could be contaminating your home without even realizing it.

The best and easiest way to wash your mask is by using warm water and a hydrogen peroxide.  Soak your mask in a solution of at least one part hydrogen peroxide to one part water for thirty minutes.  This will kill any viral droplets that are on the surface of the mask. 

Don’t: Touch Your Mask Before Washing Your Hands

When you get home after your essential errands, the first thing that you want to do is take off your mask.  But, not so fast.  Your hands could very well be contaminated after touching surfaces outside of your home.  After all, we know that surfaces can hold the virus for relatively long periods of time, and the CDC specifically urges us to wash our hands whenever we come back inside after leaving our homes.  This is why you should not even consider removing your mask until you’ve properly washed your hands.  Remember it this way: only clean hands should ever touch your mask.

Don’t: Touch Your Eyes or Face While Wearing a Mask

Remember that a mask is effective against viral droplets entering your mouth and nose, but that doesn’t mean that the rest of your face or your eyes are safe from contamination.  While you’re wearing your mask, resist the temptation to touch your face or your eyes, as these areas are still vulnerable.

Do: Rotate Masks if Possible

If you can, try to own more than one mask so that you can rotate them.  This is helpful in the event that you suspect that one mask has become contaminated, and you don’t have the time or resources to properly disinfect it before having to put it on again.

Do: Handle Your Mask with Gloves if Possible

If you can, only handle your mask when wearing gloves.  This minimizes the risk of contaminating it by touching it with unclean hands.  Many people are choosing to wear gloves in addition to wearing a mask when leaving the home, so if this makes you feel safer, then by all means go ahead.  The more protective gear, the better in these times.

Don’t: Let Anyone Else Touch Your Mask

This should go without saying, but it is important that no one touches your mask but you.  We don’t know what other people have been touching, and so allowing them to handle your mask greatly increases your chance of catching the virus. 

Don’t: Leave Your Mask on an Unclean Surface

Where you store your mask when it’s not in use is almost as important as how you handle it when you’re wearing it.  Be extremely mindful of where you keep your mask when you’re not wearing it.  Throwing it on a kitchen counter that has not been properly sanitized, for instance, is a bad idea.  If your mask becomes contaminated, putting it on your face puts you at a higher risk.  Only keep your mask somewhere that has been properly sanitized.

Don’t: Take Off Your Mask While You’re Out

This may seem a bit obvious, but you’d be surprised by how many people don’t want to keep their mask on the entire time they’re out of the home.  They may wish to temporarily pull it up so that they can talk to someone they know, or so that they can eat something while they’re out and about.  Taking off your mask, even just for a minute, can still put you at a higher risk of catching the virus, especially if its airborne qualities are as strong as we’re beginning to believe.  Once your mask is on, it should stay on until you’re back at home.

Summary

If you want to keep your mask safe from contamination, the guidelines above are essential.  Otherwise, you could be putting yourself more at risk than before.  Follow each step carefully as this will help you lower the chances of catching the virus.

5 Quick Things to Check for When Buying Protective Masks

Now that the CDC is recommending the usage of protective masks, a surge of Americans are prioritizing them in order to do what they can to prevent catching the coronavirus.  The problem is that most Americans have never had to use a mask before, and so they’re struggling to find one that’s actually protective enough to prevent the virus, while not having a good idea of which ones are legitimate and which are not.  Complicating the issue is the fact that a lot of companies are now selling protective masks in order to profit off of this pandemic, despite not going through the proper steps in order to ensure that the masks actually work.

How to Go About Buying the Correct, Protective Mask

The good news is that if you’re in the market for a mask, which you should be, there are some very easy ways to know which ones are actually effective, and which aren’t.  A proper protective mask must go through various certification processes in order to be deemed legitimate, and we’re here to help you figure out how to shop for the best one possible in order to keep yourself safe as this virus continues to spread through communities.

#1: The Type of Protective Mask

The first thing that you need to be looking for is the right kind of mask.  We’re seeing many companies selling disposable masks that are made from cheap materials.  These masks are not fitted, and the materials may be too porous to prevent the small droplets that we’re trying to avoid.  Further, disposable masks have not been proven to be effective against airborne diseases.

The gold standard is the N95 mask, but these are largely reserved for medical staff, as they should be.  The KN95 is therefore the mask you’re most likely to find, and is the mots effective after the N95.  So, while searching for a mask, KN95 is your best bet.

#2: CE Certification

CE certification means that the mask is compliant with government standards of health, safety and manufacturing.  This is absolutely crucial, because if a mask has not been evaluated under these standards, it may not be useful at all.  A CE certification should be available on a manufacturer’s website, and you should be able to cross reference the number in order to verify its legitimacy.  In fact, we do recommend cross-referencing in this case, due to the seriousness of the situation.

#3: Registry with the FDA

Another thing that you need to look for is proof that the manufacturing facility itself was registered with the FDA.  If not, the mask is absolutely not worth your money, and is likely coming from a cheap company that came about at the start of the pandemic in order to profit off of it.  Legitimate mask companies all register their facilities with the FDA, as this ensures a high standard of safety and health precautions that can determine whether or not the mask indeed keeps you safe. 

The good news is that it’s easy to find out this information.  A manufacturer should be able to provide the FDA certification number, which you can then cross reference by simply looking it up on the FDA operator database.  The number should match exactly.  If it doesn’t match, then you should avoid this manufacturer as this indicates that they do not take health and safety standards seriously, and that therefore the mask may keep you at high risk.

#4: Whether or Not the Package is Properly Sealed

A mask needs to be properly sealed, period.  Right now, we know that this virus can linger on surfaces, and no one is immune to it, including the workers at mask factories.  And, you don’t know how many people are handling your mask before it makes its way over to you.  This means that it’s possible that an infected person may have touched your mask sometime during the manufacturing and shipping process, putting you further at risk than if you weren’t wearing a mask at all.

Now, you can see why a mask being sealed is so important.  A sealed mask indicates that the mask itself has not been handled by a number of people who may or may not be infected.  Besides that, a mask that’s thoroughly sealed indicates that it was produced with the right standards and regulations as put forth by major health organizations.  In other words, an unsealed mask is a sign of a shady company that’s cutting corners.

#5: A Legitimate Source

Yes, you should consider who you’re buying your mask from.  In the midst of panic, many of us make poor, impulsive decisions in an effort to keep ourselves safe.  Therefore, we may not take the time to stop and think about choosing the best mask for our needs.  Many people are rushing out to buy the first mask that they see, but this isn’t necessarily a wise idea.  You should take the time to make sure that you can trace the mask back to the manufacturer, which means that you should avoid masks being sold by vendors who have no real connection to the medical industry.

Use this guide to Determine Whether or Not a Protective Mask is Actually Effective and Legitimate

The CDC is now recommending that we all wear protective masks whenever we leave our homes, which is why it’s so crucial that Americans know how to shop for the proper protective masks that can actually keep them protected.  Doing so will increase your chances of avoiding infection.

Protective Masks: What Kind of Mask Should I Wear?

KN95 Mask vs. N95 Mask: What Is The Difference?

Right now, there really is one thing on everyone’s mind across the globe, and it’s how to best protect ourselves against the coronavirus.  The CDC and WHO have regularly updated their guidelines and suggestions in terms of how we can keep ourselves safe, but no one will deny that at times, things have been confusing.  This virus is completely new, which means that we still know little about how it behaves and transmits from person to person.  Therefore, the CDC’s guidelines are prone to changing often, and sometimes drastically.

Up until very recently, we were told in America that the use of masks was pretty much unnecessary, because they couldn’t do much to prevent catching the virus, and that washing our hands and practicing social distance was enough.  But, now that we have a pretty good idea that the virus is, in fact, airborne, the CDC is finally suggesting that we wear masks whenever we leave our homes.  Little by little, state governments are beginning to urge their residents to wear masks as well.

This means that the general public suddenly has a new dilemma: figuring out which mask will best help them prevent catching the virus.  The CDC has been very vague about the term “mask,” which is unfortunate because the truth is that to say that not all masks are created equally, or are therefore equally capable of protecting you, is a massive understatement.

Types of Protective Masks

The good news is that we at Health Smart Labs have provided you some information needed regarding which protective mask to choose, if you’re trying to best protect yourself from COVID-19.  We will be ranking your options from worst to best.

No Mask

This has been the choice among the large majority of Americans since the virus first began to spread in early March.  Now, we know that infection rates increased dramatically over the course of the month, and we can’t say for certain how much of that increase was directly caused by the failure to use proper masks.  What we can tell you is that there’s a good chance the infection would not have spread so widely if everyone wore one.  So, we can conclude that not wearing a mask leaves you extremely vulnerable to catching the virus, especially since recent reports came out demonstrating that the virus is, in fact, airborne.

Homemade Mask

A homemade mask is an option that many are employing around the globe.  One reason why this is such a popular option is because most Americans simply don’t know much about masks and wouldn’t know how to obtain a far more effective one if they did.  Further complicating things is the fact that there’s a shortage of masks, as many were hoarded when the virus first exploded on the scene.  Homemade masks can vary in terms of effectiveness, of course, because each material has its own capability level in terms of truly being protective.  But a homemade mask is better than no mask.

Disposable Mask

The mask that we’re seeing the most of around the world is the disposable mask.  This is the blue mask that looks like a surgical mask.  In some countries, especially in parts of Asia, it’s actually popular to wear these masks throughout the cold season as a general precaution.  Now, their usage is spreading around the globe as a direct result of the new coronavirus.

Disposable masks are a bit deceptive.  They may give someone a false sense of security, because they are likely not as effective as people may think.  For one thing, they’re not properly fitted, and so there are small gaps in which the virus can enter.  Another thing is that the material is likely not nearly as protective as many think.  This means that people may assume that the mask is more effective than it is, causing them to be less cautious in other ways, such as washing their hands and distancing from others.  Still, a disposable mask is better than a homemade one, or no mask at all.

KN95

The FDA recently approved the use of China-made KN95 masks, and so we’re just starting to hear a lot about them throughout the country.  KN95 masks are far better at protecting us against droplets in the air, which is why they’re widely suggested to the general public.  They’re also more fitted than disposable ones, decreasing the likelihood of gaps into which the virus can enter.

For those who aren’t aware, KN95 certification is the Chinese equivalent of N95 in USA and has comparable performance requirements and standards of conformity.

Some of the most popular brands of KN95 masks include DR.MFYAN KN95 Masks and Purvigor KN95 Masks.

N95

These are the masks we keep hearing about, largely because of shortages around the world.  N95 masks are easily the best option of all in terms of their ability to protect you against the coronavirus.  But these masks are in short supply and desperately needed by frontline healthcare workers for protection. So even if you are lucky enough to find one, it’s better to leave the NIOSH approved N95 masks for the medical professionals on the frontlines, since civilians can get similar protection from a KN95 mask without taking them away from healthcare professionals who need them most..

Final Thoughts

We still know far less about the coronavirus than we’d like to, which means that only time will tell just how instrumental the use of masks is in terms of minimizing the risk of infection.  But we do know that without a doubt, KN95 and the N95 masks are capable of drastically reducing your chances of catching it.  Therefore, it’s time to take your mask options seriously in order to reduce your chances of ending up with COVID-19.

CDC Guidelines for Protecting Yourself Against Coronavirus

By now, most of us are more than familiar with the basic CDC guidelines for protecting ourselves against coronavirus.  But, how many of us are actually practicing them thoroughly and consistently?  Many continue to underestimate the severity of the virus, while many more are relatively unsure about what the guidelines mean, especially when they change frequently as we gradually learn more and more about the unique attributes of COVID-19. 

Below, you’ll learn the main guidelines as provided by the CDC, and how each one should be properly executed.

#1: Wash Your Hands Frequently

Are you washing your hands as frequently as you should?  Many of us find ourselves forgetting to wash our hands as often as we should simply because we have not yet gotten into the habit of doing so.  But, washing your hands is possibly one of the best ways to avoid catching the virus.

You should be washing your hands whenever you touch something coming from the outside, or when you return after having left your home.  While you wash your hands, you should use soap and warm water, and should wash for at least 20 seconds.  If for whatever reason you cannot wash your hands, you can use a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.

#2: Disinfect Your Home, as Well as New Additions to Your Home, Including Packaging

Disinfection of surfaces and items in your home is another extremely useful guideline.  We are constantly bringing into our homes items from the outside, from grocery bags to new products that we’ve just purchased.  Further, many may be asymptomatically infected, which means that touching surfaces may leave germs that can spread to those with whom we live.

Lysol is a completely adequate disinfectant that has been shown to work.  If you can, use this product to disinfect surfaces at least a couple of times a day, and also disinfect anything that you’re bringing into your home.

#3: Cover Your Face When in Public

Covering your face when you’re out in public doesn’t just protect you, but it can protect others as well.  The CDC says that a cloth is adequate, but more and more experts are suggesting that we use a legitimately protective mask whenever we leave our homes, even if it’s just to go for a walk around the block.   

#4: Avoid Close Contact with Others

By now, we all know that we have to avoid close contact with others.  This means that we must avoid socializing completely, even with our own family members and close friends.  The bottom line is that close contact makes it very easy for the virus to spread, and so for the time-being, we must keep a distance.  Six feet between people is recommended, but some experts say that the virus could even spread between twenty to twenty-five feet.  The bottom line?  Avoid close contact completely.

#5: Cover Coughs and Sneezes

This is a habit that we should have all adopted by now anyway, but it’s crucial that when we cough and sneeze, we cover our face, preferably with our elbow or a cloth.  Coughs and sneezes send droplets far into the air, which means that they can easily be breathed in by others. 

#6: Only Leave the Home for Essentials and Emergencies

You should only be leaving the house for essentials and emergencies at this point.  The problem is that these terms are relatively subjective.  Is a walk around the block essential for our mental health?  Is a toothache an emergency?  We all have our own ideas of what are essential and emergency situations, and we must really use our own wisdom to determine when we must leave the house, and when it’s not worth the risk.

#7: If You Suspect You’re Sick but Have Mild Symptoms, Stay Home

One guideline that we’re seeing widely ignored throughout the country is staying home if you have mild symptoms.  It’s better to stay in and let it pass than to go to a hospital, clinic or doctor’s office where you could risk spreading the infection to others, or catching the virus should your symptoms actually be unrelated to coronavirus.  If you’re concerned about your health, call your doctor instead.

The CDC is Doing What They Can for Us

Much about coronavirus remains misunderstood as this virus is incredibly new, and researchers are still trying to figure out the unique attributes of its behavior and its effects on our health.  However, the CDC guidelines will help ensure that all your bases are covered when it comes to protecting yourself against infection.  These guidelines are simple to follow and have been proven to work against viruses such as this one.

7 Things to Look for When Purchasing Hand Sanitizer

If you had told Americans just a few months ago that one of their most prized possession would be their bottle of hand sanitizer, they would have thought you were crazy.  However, here we are in the middle of a pandemic, when hand sanitizer has easily become one of our absolute best weapons for reducing the risk of catching the coronavirus.  Hand sanitizer has been proven to be effective against viruses such as this one, which is why sales have gone up tremendously. 

There is a downside to the sudden widespread use of hand sanitizer, however.  One is that many people are stockpiling it, which makes it harder for others to access it.  Another problem is that there are companies out there who are simply trying to profit off of this crisis and are therefore producing knockoff hand sanitizers that aren’t nearly as effective as they claim.

Therefore, the general public must be more vigilant than ever when shopping for this essential product.  They must know what to look for in order to feel certain that the hand sanitizer they’re purchasing is legitimate and up to CDC standards.  Purchasing an ineffective or illegitimate one can end up giving us a false sense of security that ultimately increases our risk of infection.

What Should You Look for in a Hand Sanitizer?

Read on to find out.

#1: At Least 60 Percent Alcohol

The CDC recommends that a hand sanitizer has at least 60 percent alcohol in order to be effective.  Most name brand sanitizers have even more of that, with some having almost 95 percent alcohol.  A hand sanitizer product should clearly state the alcohol percentage on the packaging.

#2: A Legitimate Brand

Lots of companies are popping up with their own hand sanitizers so that they can make some money off of this pandemic.  Avoid going with a brand that looks unfamiliar to you, because there’s a chance they’re not legitimate, and are sidestepping some important industry regulations in order to make some money fast.

#3: The Right Price

As people are stockpiling hand sanitizer, the market is getting the message that this product is high in demand right now.  Therefore, some companies are overcharging for it knowing that people will pay whatever it takes, while other brands are undercutting more established ones with prices that seem too good to be true.  How much a hand sanitizer costs can give you a good indication as to whether or not it’s worth your money.  Never pay too much or too little, because overpaying is simply a rip-off, while underpaying may leave you with a low-quality product.

#4: A Fairly Large Size

You’re likely going to be going through way more hand sanitizer than you ever have in your life.  That’s why we suggest opting for a larger size than usual.  The last thing that you want to happen is that you frequently run out and have to go a day or two before getting more.  Larger sizes will ensure consistent use, which is urgent in times like these.

#5: List of Ingredients

A hand sanitizer label should have a clear list of ingredients.  Look through these ingredients always, because they can give you clues into the overall quality of the product.  Cheap filler ingredients, for instance, can indicate that the product was not mad with the highest standards in mind.  And, a brand can make grandiose claims on the front of the packaging, but the list of ingredients has to back those claims up.

#6: An FDA-Approved Facility

A hand sanitizer product should come from an FDA-approved facility.  The FDA only approves manufacturing facilities that adhere to high standards and strict guidelines that are intended to keep the general public safe.  If a hand sanitizer company has not been approved by the FDA, this can indicate that the product is not being produced with your health and safety in mind.  If you must, look for the company’s website or look at the packaging in order to find an FDA certification number.  Then, cross-reference this on the FDA’s online database just to verify that the number is legitimate.  In times like these, you want to play it safe as much as possible, especially considering the growing number of illegitimate brands popping up during this crisis.

#7: A Trusted Source

We have all been hearing reports of bootleg hand sanitizers popping up on third-party vendor websites, because once again, lots of people are trying to make money off of this pandemic.  Only buy your hand sanitizer from a legitimate distributor that has been in the business for a while, or straight from the manufacturer, or from your trusted food store or pharmacy.  This is not a time to experiment with new brands and vendors in order to find something new.  And, never underestimate how many people will perfectly replicate a popular brand’s label in order to dupe the general public.

Keep These Hand Sanitizer Tips in Mind

When shopping for a hand sanitizer, you absolutely must keep these seven things in mind.  They will ensure that all of your bases are covered so that you end up with the most effective and legitimate product that is available to you.  Following each guideline above can have a huge impact on your risk of infection, so read it thoroughly.

CBD Vape, or Cannabidiol Vape, May Cure Many Ailments

CBD Vape, or Cannabidiol Vape, May Cure Many Ailments

CBD Vape Pen

When you hear someone talk about CBD vape, you think of the guys on the corner vaping or people posting YouTube videos doing vape tricks (usually). But what If I told you that there is something called cannabidiol that can cure many ailments which affect millions of people each day? Whether you want to believe it or not, cannabidiol is a great way to help people with Epilepsy, Cancer, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Depression, Schizophrenia and even Diabetes. The list goes on for how much this product can help people, but I would be here for days typing it up and that is why I wanted to just target the main things that CBD vape can help.

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The Benefits of Cannabidiol For Effective Weight Management

The Benefits of Cannabidiol For Effective Weight Management

Is it really possible that cannabis can help you lose weight? The common perception of smoking pot and getting the munchies is counter-intuitive to the concept that something derived from cannabis or hemp oil could actually help you control your weight. Despite the paradox, the scientific evidence behind the role of phyto-cannabinoids  and synergistic terpenes in effective weight management is very promising.

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CBD Vape for Businesses

CBD Vape for Businesses Such as Smoke Shops and Pharmacies

When you first hear of CBD vape you probably think of “Vaping”. But what if I told you that cannabidiol vape cartridges, oils salves and other CBD products can sell well in your smoke shop, pharmacy or even a chiropractic office? Over the years there have been many studies on Canibidiol and we have found out that it has many medical applications. People coming into your business will see this new Cannabidiol and wonder what it is, after you explain to them the properties of the product and the fact that it is currently helping people with ailments like Cancer, depression, MS, and even something as little as stress, they will know that you have something they might be interested in.

Selling Cannabidiol

CBD Oil (Cannabidiol)

When you purchase CBD vape in order to sell it to your clients or foot traffic, you’re not breaking any type of law since it’s legal for consumption. There is not (more than 0.3%) THC within the oils and that is why it’s legal to sell to anyone over the age of 18 or whatever your legal age to smoke might be.

Putting a sign up for CBD vape in a smoke shop or pharmacy will get people asking about it. They might try it out, and if they do, they will know the power it has and they will likely be coming back to ease their pain in a legal way.

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