Do face masks really reduce Coronavirus?
"The possibility of being asymptomatic is one of the best cases for universal mask-wearing"
Well, it’s during this pandemic that we have realized the importance of masks. But did you know that many countries like Japan, Austria, Singapore has developed a culture of wearing masks a long time ago? And this habit of mask-wearing has helped these countries prevent the spread of Coronavirus.
According to Dr. Amesh Adalja "Face masks can help protect against many respiratory infections that are spread through the droplets route. And that includes Coronavirus and the flu." But how you may ask?
When a person sneezes, tiny droplets of water are released in the area to some distance and these are called aerosols. The aerosols may carry the germs and infect any person that comes in contact with these. But if you are wearing a mask it will prevent the aerosols to enter your mouth or nose. So, cutting your chances of infection.
But some people around the world still doesn't feel strongly about wearing masks and it's importance. And they often feel that only sick people should wear the mask as it will keep their germs in and protect the others.
But when we are talking about an unprecedented disease such as Covid-19, we don't know if one is infected or not because it takes up to 14 days for the symptoms to show up but is contagious even before that. And a report showed that 25% of people who catch Coronavirus never show symptoms at all because of their strong immunity, but are also contagious.
See no mask can guarantee that you won't have coronavirus. Instead, the best way to think about face masks is as part of a larger set of protective measures, along with social distancing and hand washing. Used together they don't protect you completely, but they dramatically lower your odds of infection.
But the way you wear your mask also determines how much you are protected. A face mask can be exhausting and uncomfortable to use over time and they are not designed to be worn 8 hours a day plus if the mask does not fit your face properly you will end up touching your face more than when you were not wearing one at all.
So there are certain things to keep in mind to make your masks more protective for you:
- Wear a tight-fitting mask.
- Don't touch the front of your mask once you have worn it and if you do then wash your hands with soap.
- Change if your mask becomes damp.
- To remove your mask, take it off using the elastic tags.
- If it's reusable then immediately keep it in warm water with a little salt and leave it for some time once you come back home. And if it's one-time-use then through it in a dustbin right away.
What kind of mask should one wear is the most common question.
Well, in India the health ministry has given new guidelines that for common public a simple cloth mask made at home will do.
Though N95 and Surgical masks are more effective but it's fir the healthcare workers to use. N95 and surgical masks have been in great demand and it's impossible to produce masks for the whole world and hence there are companies who make fake N95 masks. Healthcare workers' masks are tested before they wear it. But it's not possible for the common public to test the effectiveness of these masks. So cloth masks are recommended for the public.