The recent outbreak of the Coronavirus (Now called SARS-CoV-2). Preventing any infection & staying away from the infected, is indeed the only thing that is occupying our minds. Most of us have been advised to wear a mask to protect yourself against the virus, but how good are they in preventing an infection? Let’s get answers to some of this and some other burning questions you might have.
Should I wear a face mask?
If you are healthy, you should not wear a mask unless you are looking after a COVID-19 patient, however, if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, you should definitely get a face mask & wear it if you test positive for the SARS-CoV-2. In case, you do not fit the above two clauses, self-quarantine is ideally recommended at this moment.
Can a face mask protect you against COVID-19?
To protect oneself against COVID-19, not just any mask; but the use of specialised masks called N95 respirators is advised. This mask is thicker than the ordinary mask. However, it is not recommended for the general public because wearing these masks for a longer duration could make it harder to breathe, says the Food & Drug Administration. Additionally, to know how to wear these masks properly requires a bit of training.
Where can I get an N95 mask?
Getting an N95 respirator mask is not a problem. You can get the mask online. However, we should not buy these in bulk because these might lead to a shortage of masks in the market. This will put the health professionals who are treating COVID-19 patients at risk.
Many people are worried about their pets. There has been an increase in demand for canine masks in China. As a result, some pet owners are making their dogs wear a surgical face mask. The World Health Organisation has not commented on, whether the pets can be infected as well, however, it has been advised to be careful.
What else should I know about face masks?
While using a face mask is helpful against COVID-19, the protection works best if you follow basic hygiene practices such as washing hands frequently with soap and water or alcohol-based solutions. Another thing to keep in mind is when you wear a mask, make sure that there is no gap between the mask and your face.
Where should I discard my face mask?
A very important thing you must know about using face masks is where to dispose of them. Firstly, once your face mask becomes moist, you must discard them immediately. Never reuse single-use masks. While removing the mask, avoid touching the front portion of the mask and remove it from the backside. Throw the mask in a closed trash can and clean your hands with soap and water or use a sanitiser.
With no vaccine available for SARS-CoV-2 at the moment, taking necessary precautions should be out top priority. Washing hands, sanitising commonly-touched surfaces and self-quarantine are some of the most important measures to be followed. In case you have any flu-like symptoms, consult a doctor immediately.