Unmasking the mask wearing skills: addressing the Coronavirus challenge
The world is under the arrest of novel Coronavirus that is spread across countries. Partial and complete lockdowns have become a way of life in many countries, including India. Precautionary measures and hygiene are the only power tools to stay away from Coronavirus. Therefore, the demand for products such as hand sanitizers, gloves, face masks and others have increased drastically. So much so that, many experts have come out with videos on how to create DIY sanitizers and face masks, in case people are unable to get hold of their commercial counterparts. If one can make a face mask at home, do we really need the ones available in the market? Can we re-use the masks? Or Do we really need a mask? These and many questions are bothering people today. Let us look into various aspects that will allow you to understand masks and how to use one.
Can masks protect me from Coronavirus?
Coronavirus is spread through the transmission of tiny particles called aerosols. These particles can penetrate mask surface, and therefore masks are effectively captivating these particles to restrict their movement further. Experts suggest wearing a multi-layer mask can diminish the transmission of virus particles.
The outbreak of novel Coronavirus has made everyone very conscious of coughing and sneezing. Mainly because people infected with the virus do not show related symptoms until two weeks and sneezing or coughing during those two weeks can effectively transmit the virus particles. A face mask can effectively cut-down on aerosol transmission. If you are in a public place, around infected people, around people sneezing/coughing or if you are experiencing cold/cough then you must wear a multi-layer mask as a precautionary measure.
How can I improve the effectiveness of a mask?
Protection against Coronavirus involves a combination of healthy habits, including wearing a face mask. As per the guidelines issued by WHO, wearing a mask is effective along with other hygiene routines such as washing your hands with soap & water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer frequently. Other useful tips to improve the effectiveness of masks are:
Cover both nose and mouth with a mask.
Leave no gap between the mask and your face.
DO NOT touch, adjust or remove mask frequently.
Do not re-use single-use masks.
Discard masks properly – remove the mask from behind and never touch the front section. Always throw the mask in a closed bin and clean your hands immediately post disposing-off the mask.
What type of mask should I use?
Single-use masks are made up of a skinny layer and are effective is capturing large particles. Their flat design, when put on the face, allows air to enter from the sides of the mask. They are not effective in protection against Coronavirus, but they can trap infectious respiratory secretions. If you suspect yourself of COVID-19, wearing surgical/single-use masks will arrest respiratory secretions. N99 3ply masks & N95 respirators are useful when you use one that fits well and seals your mouth and nose completely. If you are around people infected with COVID-19 or high chances of having the virus, this the mask you should be wearing to protect yourself. The least effective mask is a handmade mask. A study suggests that a homemade mask is half as effective as surgical. Therefore, look around you and be alert of people in your vicinity to select the best suitable mask for yourself.
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