Nowadays, when the world is fighting against a pandemic named COVID-19, face mask is one of the strongest weapons for mankind. The other two most crucial prevention are proper hand washing methods and social distancing.
The confirmed positive cases of Coronavirus infected persons are continuously increasing. Hence, wearing face masks in public or whenever stepping out of your home is becoming a mandate for all.
The experts are telling us that you can wear homemade masks as the world is facing a scarcity of masks in the market.
Homemade masks can’t protect from falling sick, but it can surely help prevent the virus from spreading.
Let us see the role of face masks in this latest coronavirus disease outbreak.
But before that, you should know about various types of masks so that you can choose the right one for you.
Here we go…
Different Types of Face Mask: Choose the Ideal One for You
Among the various types of masks, which one is ideally suitable for you is not so easy to decide.
Here’s a look at them that you have come across in recent times. The level of protection varies for each and it all works differently.
1. N95 Mask
The N95 mask is the most effective one when compared to other masks in terms of protection.
It blocks 95% of tiny particles of 0.3 microns that are the toughest to come in the capture.
These are designed for single-use and hence it needs to get disposed properly.
N95 masks are made up of polyester and synthetic material with layers of tangled fibers as filters to give extra protection from the tiny particles to pass through.
It also comes with a nose piece molded to your face. There should not be any gap between your skin and the edge of the mask.
These are mostly required by the health care workers, doctors, and staff who are exposed to infected patients.
There are tests related to air leakage, size, and proper fittings. Hence it can’t be used for children. Some of these also have exhalation valves in front for easy breathing.
2. Medical Mask
Few varieties of medical masks can capture from 60% to 80% of the microparticles.
This is less effective than N95 due to its looser fit, though it can help prevent the spreading of coronavirus.
It captures the droplets when you cough or sneeze when worn properly.
Medical masks are made up of paper like synthetic breathable fabric. It is designed in a rectangular shape with pleats for expanding and snug fitting around the face.
It is made for one-time use so it needs to be disposed correctly.
Medical masks must be used by medical staff while entering the room with patients suspected or confirmed with COVID-19.
The use of PPE (Personal protective equipment) is highly required along with the mask.
Symptomatic patients with respiratory symptoms must wear a medical mask while visiting the hospital.
3. Homemade Mask (Non-Medical Mask)
Now as the market is facing less availability of medical masks, people are opting for homemade masks.
Many are turned to making of these masks at home. If it can be made in a certain way that it can cover the face properly and if the fabric is good, then it can protect like the simple medical version.
The materials used are heavy cotton cloth, flannel, or dish towel which are tightly woven for good protection. The material should be dense enough to capture viral particles.
The use of these masks in a community setting is not yet evaluated but it is always better to cover your face than doing nothing.
Why Should you Wear a Mask?
The question may arise why you would consider wearing a face mask. Let me tell you that you might not have any symptoms but when you are visiting public places like grocery stores or pharmacies, physical distancing may become difficult.
Moreover, the mask keeps reminding you to stay a little distance away from others.
The problem lies with the fact that coronavirus disease may get transmitted from an asymptomatic infected person.
So, along with social distancing and good health hygiene habits, entire world is focussing on wearing the mask by every individual in a public setting.
The Role of Mask
1. Protecting Everyone
It is a protection for you and others from this coronavirus disease.
Many asymptomatic people may unknowingly spread the disease.
A cloth mask is not sufficient to prevent you from inhaling viral particles but it will give a bit of respiratory protection by reducing the deposition of particles on the surface or other people.
2. Difference Between Respirators and Non-Respirators
N95 masks are respirators that can be worn by medical staff coming in close contact with infected people in the hospital.
The non-airtight surgical masks and cloth masks are non-respirators. They are used to protect the surrounding from the wearers, whereas the respirators protect the wearer from the surrounding environment.
3. Stay Safe and Vigilant
Wearing a mask will also prevent you from touching your face and mouth which will reduce the spread of the virus.
Only wearing a mask won’t help you to stay safe. You need to become vigilant on other measures too.
How to Wear a Mask?
The steps to wear a mask properly –
- First, you need to wash your hands for 20 seconds before touching your mask.
- While putting on your mask, secure it behind your ears without touching your face or the front of the mask.
- The mask must be snugly fit from over your nose and mouth.
- If you are wearing a medical mask, you need to pull the pleats so that it fits perfectly under the chin.
How to Remove the Face Mask?
- While removing, do not touch your face or mask. Try to release the ear loops and dispose of it properly.
- After removal of the mask, wash your face and hands for 20 seconds with soap and water.
- If you are using a homemade mask, clean it regularly with laundry detergent to prevent any contamination.
This piece of information about Face Mask is for educational and informational purposes only. Do not consider this as medical advice for any health condition. It is always recommended to consult your doctor or any medical practitioner for any health-related queries.