With there now being reports of two cases of coronavirus in Canada, people are taking precautions. That includes wearing face masks to avoid getting sick. The demand for these items has gotten so high, however, that pharmacies in Ottawa are already selling out of them.

According to CTV, the situation has become so desperate that people are now turning to a hardware-themed alternative for protection: painter's masks.

Unfortunately, those are starting to go fast as well. Canadian Tire locations in Ottawa have already sold the majority of their stock. 

Hardware store owner Johnny Giannetti told CTV News that he has seen a huge surge in sales of the protective product at his business, even saying that suppliers told him "if you’re running low, jump in now and order."

The big question is — do these work as well when it comes to blocking germs and viruses?

According to Enviro Safety, a company that specializes in protective equipment, anything that is rated 95 or higher is effective at stopping 95% of particles that are 0.3 microns in size or larger.

While the coronavirus is smaller than that at .01 to .02 microns, germs typically travel in fluid particles that are much larger, around 5 microns.

N95 respirators are actually the preferred product of the CDC for preventing the inhalation of airborne germs.

Another advantage that wearing one of these has is that it prevents a person from touching their nose or mouth, which also aids in reducing the spread of germs.

Still, some doctors have stressed that wearing a mask is not necessary, even if this type of illness is circulating.

Health officials told the Ottawa Citizen, "Surgical masks may have some benefit in reducing the spread of infection when worn during an illness, especially when seeking healthcare, such as waiting rooms at doctors’ offices. However, we do not specifically recommend that members of the public purchase masks."

People have been told to take some precautions, such as frequently washing their hands, using their arm to cover coughs or sneezes, and staying home if they are sick.

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