To wear a mask or not wear a mask: Armament to Fight the COVID pandemic

To wear a mask or not wear a mask- Armament to Fight the COVID pandemic

It’s not the spread of the virus, but the lack of knowledge that kills people!

So much has happened in the past few days that left us dazzled with the inundation of information.

The pandemic, the lockdown, the economic breakdown, and the uncertain future has created a state of panic across the globe. And in such a disturbed state, the spread of false news stirs the agitated air of confusion.

One common confusion in this pandemic is the use of a mask. As this pandemic shows no sign of abetting, people are stacking their house with masks. But does the mask really protect you from coronavirus?

 

Face masks: What is it?

A face mask is a cover for your mouth and nose. It helps block the release of virus-filled droplets into the air. The mask can also shield the virus from entering your nose or mouth. It primarily limits the spread of the virus from unidentified sources.

 

Do masks prevent coronavirus?

The face mask is not an iron-clad that guarantee the prevention of coronavirus. But it can help in curbing the spread.

Masks are effective at capturing droplets going out of the mouth. This is particularly beneficial when the person having coronavirus wears it. Also, people who work in close contact with an infected person can benefit from wearing the mask.

The mask cuts the risk of the disease being passed on. But as we said, it’s no iron shield.

The virus can enter the body through the eyes, nose, and mouth, either directly or after touching a contaminated object. So, the mask cannot offer 100% protection.

 

Types of mask

  1. Surgical masks
    Surgical masks protect the wearer from large-particle droplets, sprays and splashes.
  1. N95
    N95 reduces the exposure to tiny, invisible particles in the air, including bacteria and viruses.
  1. Face Filtering Piece
    Face Filtering Piece is for people who have respiratory diseases. It shields dust and dirt. But it can’t keep the coronavirus at bay.
  1. Cloth masks
    This is basically wrapping a cloth around your face covering the nose and mouth.

 

Who should wear a mask and which one?

WHO recommends only two types of people to wear protective masks:

  • sick people.
  • Healthcare providers.

WHO says that medical masks in the PPE kits should be reserved for healthcare workers.

People in close contact with infected personals can use a mask to reduce the risk. Also, people showing symptoms or being diagnosed with coronavirus can protect others by wearing the mask.

Others should avoid using the medical masks. Because it could lead to a shortage of medical masks where needed.

People who are not exposed to the virus, can use cloth face coverings. 2 layers of cotton fabric, T-shirts or bandanas can be turned into a mask. Masks should be secured with loops or ties leaving no gap.

The mask should not be too tight that it restricts the wearer’s ability to breathe. Children younger than 2 years should avoid using it.

 

Why medical masks are not for common people?

Medical masks are not recommended for the general public. Mainly for 3 reasons:

  • Medical masks should be prioritized for healthcare workers.
  • Non-surgical face masks are effective in protecting you.
  • Masks can be contaminated by other people’s coughs and sneezes.
  • Frequent hand-washing and social distancing are more effective.
  • Masks might offer a false sense of security.

 

How to use the mask?

If you are taking care of a COVID patient or you are the patient then follow the following instructions:

  • Clean your hands with sanitizer or soap before putting the mask.
  • Avoid touching the mask after putting it on.
  • Cover mouth and nose with a mask. Make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask.
  • Do not re-use single-use masks. Discard immediately in a closed bin.
  • Remove the mask from behind.

 

Tips to follow while using a mask (any mask) 

  1. Don’t leave your chin exposed.
  2. Secure the mask properly so that it does not slips down.
  3. Don’t wear the mask below your nose.
  4. Cover your nose properly.
  5. Don’t wear the mask loosely leaving gaps.

 

Conclusion: Should you or shouldn’t you wear a mask?

Wearing a mask? Yes.

Wearing a surgical mask? Only for those in close contact with COVID-19 patient.

Others? Wear a homemade mask!

Children below 2 or 3 years – Don’t give them masks. Don’t take them out!

The best thing for people who are not yet exposed is to stay home. Unless, it’s really an urgency, don’t step out!

Stay in! Stay safe!

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