The new rule of social acceptability is to wear a mask, wash your hands and greet without a handshake.
The cases of covid-19 differ from region to region. For example, in some parts of Africa, the cases have peaked and are reducing while in some parts of Europe, Asia and America there is a resurgence. Despite the difference in numbers of cases health experts have instructed that it’s important to stay steadfast in helping prevent further spread of the virus. This includes continuous washing of hands, what to do when we cough and sneeze, avoid touching your face and follow social distancing rules and of course wearing a mask. The last on the list seem to be all important as some organisations won’t let you get into their premises without wearing a face mask. Even public transportation is difficult without that protection.
Since, this is the new normal until a vaccine becomes approved, how can we wear the face mask without putting ourselves in harm’s way?
As we’ve learned throughout this pandemic, the most common way COVID-19 spreads is through person-to-person contact. When an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks, they produce respiratory droplets that can travel about six feet and can land in the mouths or noses of those nearby. COVID-19 can also be spread by people who don’t know they have the virus since they aren’t experiencing any symptoms. Because of this, the center for Disease Control recommend wearing masks or cloth face coverings to help slow the spread of the virus.
To make sure you are properly protected, there are some things you should and should NOT do when wearing a mask or cloth face covering:
- Choose a mask that doesn’t have a valve or other openings in it.
- Make sure it covers your face from the bridge of your nose down to your chin.
- Try to fit it snugly against the sides of your face, making sure there are no gaps.
- Make sure you can breathe easily through it.
- Wash it regularly using water and a mild detergent; dry it completely in a hot dryer; store it in a clean container or bag.
- Do not allow it to slip under your nose and don’t wear it on your forehead or around your neck.
- Do not put it on a child younger than two, anyone who has trouble breathing or anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove it without assistance.
- Do not touch the outside or inside of it, as it may be contaminated from breathing, coughing or sneezing. Pull it on or off from the sides.
- Do not share it with others in your household.
While wearing a mask may not protect you 100% from getting COVID-19, it can help lower the odds. If you’re sick, a mask can help keep your germs from infecting others. If you’re healthy, a mask can help keep respiratory droplets from someone who is sick from landing in your nose and mouth. While we can’t quantify how effective it is to wear a mask, we do know it offers some protection while not wearing one offers none. In short, we are all at the lowest risk when everyone wears a mask.
Despite the recommendations, there is one big myth out there about the safety of wearing a mask – that it causes you to breath in dangerous amounts of carbon dioxide. Well, these experts claim that for those who can medically tolerate wearing a mask, there is no science to support claims that wearing a mask can harm you. They say health care workers wear masks and respirators daily, often for extended periods of time, without incident. The face covering you use doesn’t need to be tightly fitted, but it does need to cover your nose and mouth. But should you find difficulty breathing at any point, quickly step away to an empty corner and breathe sweet fresh air.
With all these do’s and don’ts remember that social distancing and hand washing are still very important safety precautions that everyone should follow in addition to facial protection especially, when you go outdoors.
We are all in this together and wearing a mask helps protect you and everyone around you, especially those who are at the highest risk. Surely, this will soon be behind us.
Do you have a mask-up experience? Please share with us in the comment section.