During these unprecedented times, we see an upward trend of COVID-19 cases around the world. Thus, we will have to use precautions to avoid catching the virus. I want to state that while a mask is effective against the virus, there are a few things that we have to do to maintain our health, and not just against COVID. We must keep our communities safe, so we have gathered together important facts about masks and other protective equipment (PPE).
The most important thing when you wear a mask is to maintain its hygiene. Since they are humid due to the exhaling and inhaling of your breathings, bacterias and viruses (yes, viruses) are catching on to the mask and may cause illness. A typical disposable mask (Surgical Mask) is good for up to four (4) hours. If you use it and then put it in your pocket or hang it on your rear-view mirror, it may cause more pollution. Consider using a Ziplock bag to keep the mask inside for the best protection.
2. Mask Protection
Wearing a mask could prevent you from catching the virus. However, there are a few conditions. When two people wear a mask, the chances of being infected are meager but do exist. On the other hand, if an infected person is near you and not wearing a mask, your chances of catching the virus are significantly higher.
When referring to the mask with an N95 standard, it means that the mask is able
to filter 95% of the viruses, germs, and other harmful particles. The N95 masks are also disposable and good for about 4-6 hours. Some N95 masks, and even some cloth masks, have one-way valves that make them easier to breathe through. But because the valve releases unfiltered air when the wearer breathes out, this mask doesn't prevent the wearer from spreading the virus. For this reason, some places have banned them.
3. Cloth masks
The mask, along with other precautions and guidelines, is intended to stop the spread of COVID-19. The mask is used to stop the wearer from releasing droplets while he speaks, coughs, or sneezes.
It is important to wear the cloth face covering while in public spaces, maintain social distancing, and wash hands frequently. Statistics show that countries that followed these guidelines slowed down the spread of the virus significantly.
Cloth face coverings and masks are a great solution while there might be a shortage of N95 masks and surgical masks (On average, medical professionals use 360 masks for one COVID patient). Moreover, those should be reserved for health care providers.
The cloth face coverings are easy to find or make. Also, they can be washed and reused and, therefore, more cost-effective.
Cloth masks can be made from common materials such as sheets made of tightly woven cotton. You can find instructions easily online. The cloth masks should include several layers of fabric.
The CDC Website includes instructions on creating masks from bandanas and T-shirts, with no sewing needed.
How to wear a cloth face mask
The CDC recommends that you wear a cloth face mask when you're around people who don't live with you and in public settings when social distancing is difficult.
Here are a few pointers for putting on and taking off a cloth mask:
Wash or sanitize your hands before and after putting on and taking off your mask.
Place your mask over your mouth and nose.
Tie it behind your head or use ear loops and make sure it's snug.
Please don't touch your mask while wearing it.
If you accidentally touch your mask, wash or sanitize your hands.
If your mask becomes wet or dirty, switch to a clean one. Put the used mask in a sealable bag until you can wash it.
Remove the mask by untying it or lifting off the ear loops without touching the front of the mask or your face.
Wash your hands immediately after removing your mask.
Regularly wash your mask with soap and water by hand or in the washing machine. It's fine to launder them with other clothes.
Here are a few face mask precautions
Don't put masks on anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious or otherwise unable to remove the mask without help.
Don't put masks on children under 2 years of age.
Don't use face masks as a substitute for social distancing.
Tips for adjusting to a face mask
It can be challenging to get used to wearing a face mask. Here are some tips for making the transition:
Start slow. Wear your mask at home for a short time, such as while watching television. Then wear them for a short walk. Slowly increase the time until you feel more comfortable.
Find your fit. If your mask isn't comfortable or is too difficult to breathe through, consider other options. Masks come in a variety of styles and sizes.
We hope that you will find these tips helpful and contributing to the safety of our loved ones. If these tips don't help or you have concerns about wearing a mask, talk with your doctor about protecting yourself and others during the pandemic.