Fear surrounding the coronavirus has people rushing to stores to purchase masks, causing major problems in stores nationwide.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports surgical masks only help to prevent large splashes or sprays, such as coughing or sneezing.
CBS 4’s Jeremiah Wilcox traveled to medical supply stores and pharmacies throughout the Rio Grande Valley. All say the same thing, manufactures aren’t able to sell them surgical face masks.
There are two types of masks, surgical masks are the typical ones you see in stores. They provide protection against large particles including coughing and sneezing.
The other is respiratory masks. It protects against small and large airborne particles. Respiratory masks are typically worn by extremely sick patients and healthcare workers.
It’s surgical masks that are flying off the shelves.
Pharmacists tell CBS 4 they haven’t had a hard time ordering masks since the H1N1 outbreak eleven years ago.
“We are not recommending that people buy this mask,” said Dr. Jose Campo Maldonado. “There are gaps between the mask and your face. So, if you’re scratching your nose, you’re removing the mask, you’re touching the mask that’s not going to be effective.”
So far, 1,100 people worldwide have died from coronavirus and thousands more have become sick.
Outside of a healthcare setting, Dr. Maldonado tells CBS 4 there’s no need to start wearing masks.
There are no local cases of death from the virus.
Doctors urge everyone to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds to prevent any illness.
Also, if you do get sick you should practice coughing etiquette like coughing in your arm or staying home and away from the public.