Importance of Face mask
Simple cloth/fabric barrier wore on the face covering your mouth and nose, to prevent your respiratory droplets containing bacteria from reaching others.
In the case of COVID-19, the virus spreads from one person to another through respiratory droplets. When you talk, shout, cough or sneeze, these small droplets filled with bacteria travel into the air. These droplets can be inhaled by the person nearby you. To prevent this, one should always wear a mask, so that any disease or virus should not be transferred from one person to another. Mask should be clean, hygienic and should be changed or washed with hot water at regular time intervals. A simple mask can protect you, from breathing in the virus.
MASK/FACE MASK can help
It has been a debatable topic from a long time, whether wearing a mask can be effective at preventing the spread of viruses or not. But in recent decade, many experiments, observations and reports stats that wearing a mask reduces the chances of spreading virus. Yes, face masks can help. Wearing masks is an extremely important and good habit, which takes minimum efforts by which spreading of a disease can be prevented. Along with the facemask, one should also follow other preventing measures as well like social distancing, washing hands at regular intervals.
Types of face mask
Currently people across the globe are using three types of facemask.
- Fabric masks/Cloth face coverings/ Cloth masks.
- Surgical mask.
- Respirators. (N95, KN95 and P2 masks)
Fabric masks/ Cloth masks
Cloth masks are masks made by cloth or fabric such as cotton, cotton blend, flannel, polyester, chiffon, silk, satin, and linen. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has given detailed information about guidance for Wearing Masks. Multilayer cloth mask is more effective than single layer of cloth mask. Having two or three fabric layers can prevent small droplets from entering into your body.
A surgical mask, also known as a medical face mask. Surgical masks are made of a nonwoven fabric. Surgical masks were originally designed to protect medical personnel from accidentally breathing or swallowing in splashes or sprays of droplets which may contain harmful bacteria or virus. Surgical masks also refer as one time use masks or single use masks. Longer use of these masks can be dangerous because these masks were designed to avoid average size droplets and are unable to filter small droplets caused by sneeze or cough.
Respirators commonly known as filtering face piece respirators – FFP, are those types of masks which are capable of stopping average as well as small droplets. Thus giving you more protection than cloth masks and surgical masks. Here N95, KN95 are the same as they both are designed to capture 95% of 0.3 micron particles. Difference between N95 and P2 masks is very small. P2 is a respiratory filter rating under the AS/NZS1716 standards for use in Australia and New Zealand.
How to wear a face mask safely
Now, you must be thinking that wearing a mask is so easy and simple but there are certain measures, which you need to take care of.
- Clean your hands properly before putting a mask. Remember, each time you have to clean your hands after touching the mask.
- Make sure, your mask is not loose and is properly covering your mouth, nose and chin. In case of gaps, small droplets can enter you body.
- While removing the mask, you should remove the mask from behind, avoid touching mask from the front as there can be harmful bacteria or virus on it.
- Wash you mask with warm water after each wear, if it is washable or made up of cloth or fiber.
- Non washable, single use masks, surgical masks should be treated as medical waste and should be handled with care. Just throwing the used mask here and there can get more people affected.
Conclusion – International health agencies have recommended, one should wear a mask even if the person is healthy and showing no sign of illness or symptoms of covid. Epidemiologists currently emphasize that wearing a mask, can effectively interrupt airborne infections in the community. As, being a responsible human being, we all should motivate others to wear facemask (at least while going to any crowded place). With the use of facemask, one should also follow social distancing and should wash hands with hand wash or you can sanitize them as well in proper time intervals. Following, all these basic safety steps requires very less effort, which can help a lot in controlling the spread of COVID.