A mask is a barrier between the nose, mouth and the rest of the world. This small piece of cloth is extremely useful in preventing the spread of contagious infection that spreads through air. A mask prevents you from spreading infection and prevents the infection from coming on to you from others. A mask could be a piece of cloth covering your nose and mouth (your scarf or the basic cotton ones we see being sold these days) or specially manufactured to prevent infection (the ones we see doctors wearing).
Should I use a mask?
- The answer is ‘yes’ and ‘no’. If you are healthy and everyone at your home is healthy, do not wear it. I suggest this because the precautions to using a mask must be followed at all times under all circumstances.
- Wear a mask if you have an infection (any infection like cough, cold, etc) or if you are a caregiver.
- Wear a mask if you are stepping out of your house, do not take it off when talking to people or under any circumstances. Take it off and put it for a wash immediately once you are home.
WHO says, you should use a mask:
- If you’re taking care of a person with infection (any infection)
- If you have any infection
How to Use a Mask
- A mask alone is not the only answer to protect you from an infection. Use alcohol-based sanitizers or wash your hands before, during and after using the it
- Before you touch your mask, wash your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or with soap and water
- Cover your mouth and nose and ensure there are no gaps in between
- Once you pull off the mask, because of the breath, the dirt will stick to it from the inside. Do not use it again, get a fresh one.
- One time use masks to be used once. Period!
- Since the mask is protecting you from infections, it has all infections on it. So do not touch it when it’s on.
- Discard it in a paper bag and then throw it in the dustbin.
- If you’re using one made from cloth, you can wash it in warm water, dry it in a clean place and reuse.
There are different types available in the market. In the current epidemic, it is suggested to use the N95 respirator face mask to protect one from contracting COVID-19. All the indications to wear it stays the same as mentioned above. This mask filters particle (95% of very small particles) from the air that is breathed through it. These respirators filter out at least 95% of very small (0.3 micron) particles. It is said that these masks can filter most of the bacteria and viruses. And hence its utility. If these are properly fitted and worn, minimal leakage occurs around edges of the respirator when the user inhales air.
Currently, we increasingly see common vendors selling masks on the road side, people wear to check and keep them back. This is unacceptable and we are creating a pool of infection by such practises. Ensure you sanitise and clean the mask properly, before you put it on. Keep your it only for your use and no one else’s.
However, in the current scenario where masks are required by the medical fraternity more than the common citizens, I must reiterate that your mask against COVID-19 must be ‘social distancing’ and nothing else.
You can get N95 masks from the GOQii Health Store within the app.
Stay safe. Stay at home. #BeTheForce against COVID-19!