What is a Face Mask
A face mask is a protective covering device to wear over the nose and mouth to prevent the people from inhaling harmful substances, such as dust, pollution, and deadly viruses. It also prevents you from passing on the same harmful virus or bacteria onto anyone else in case you are already infected.
Importance of Wearing a Face Mask in COVID-19
- As we know, Coronavirus is transmitted through the droplets present mainly in the air. So, when a person coughs or sneezes, the droplets are released which can infect a healthy person nearby. Wearing a mask prevents the dispersion of droplets into the air.
- Face masks are serving a greater purpose in various other sectors. These masks are protecting professionals like doctors, nurses, policemen, sanitization workers, etc. who are at the frontlines. They’re the ones who are highly prone to getting infected.
- According to a study by Indian Express, up to 45% of the deaths projected in New York over the next two months could be prevented if 80% of the people started using some sort of mask.
- Jagmeet Singh, Professor of Cardiology at Harvard Medical School, also stated “When people step out of their homes, they should consider others as possibly infected, and themselves as possible contagion. If they wear a mask, there is a two-way protection. They prevent the possibility of infecting others, and also protect themselves.”
- Using a mask during such a pandemic prevents community transmission of the disease. If a large number of people start wearing masks, there are chances of reducing the number of cases.
Types of Face Masks
1- Surgical Masks
Surgical Masks are often blue with white borders. They are a part of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) kits that fit loosely across your nose and mouth. These masks shield against the large droplets that come from a sick person’s cough or sneeze. But they’re too loose to protect against all germs, so they may not block the tiniest particles that may carry coronavirus.
Use- Healthcare professionals wear surgical masks during surgery to catch the bacteria shed in liquid droplets and aerosols from the wearer’s mouth and nose. Common people also wear this mask.
2- N95 Mask
A N95 mask filters out at least 95% of airborne particles including large and small particles. These masks have tangled fibers to filter pathogens in the air, and they fit very close to the face. The edges form a seal around the mouth and nose.
According to NIOSH, “respirators are rated ‘N,’ if they are Not resistant to oil, ‘R’ if somewhat Resistant to oil, and ‘P’ if strongly resistant (oil Proof).”
Respirators that filter out 95 percent of airborne particles are given a rating of 95. So, N95 respirators filter out 95 percent of airborne particles, however, they aren’t resistant to oil. The respirators that filter out at least 99 percent of airborne particles have a 99 rating. This is important because some industrial oils can degrade the filter performance. In the case of COVID-19, N95 works.
Use – The general public should not use these masks. These are critical supplies we should reserve for health care workers and other medical professionals at the frontline.
3- Home Made Cloth Face Mask
It is advised to common people to use a homemade cloth mask at this time of crisis. Surgical masks and N95 respirators are in critical demand, and the government asks that citizens reserve them for use by healthcare workers.
We can make an effective cloth face mask from household or other common materials like t-shirts, coffee filters, bandanas, and other cotton clothes. The masks should be disposed of after each use, or washed before wearing again.
How To Use a Face Mask
Since we’re using masks on a daily basis, we should know the proper use of the masks to avoid any risk of getting infected. The WHO has recommended certain steps to follow while wearing and removing the mask. Read below
Steps to wear the mask
- Clean your hands before touching the mask
- Inspect the mask for any damage
- Adjust the mask to your face without leaving any gaps or sides
- Cover your mouth nose and chin
Steps to remove the mask
- Avoid touching your mask
- Clean your hands before removing the mask
- Remove the mask by the strap behind the ear or head
- Take out the mask keeping away from your face
- Store the mask in a clean plastic bag if it’s not dirty and you are planning to use it again.
- If dirty, wash the mask in soap or detergent using hot water.
- Clean your hands after removing the mask
Here are few tips for face mask precautions
- People who have troubled breath or are unable to remove the mask without help should avoid using masks.
- Avoid putting masks on children under 2 years of age.
- Please avoid using face masks as a substitute for social distancing. According to CNN, a lab test suggests that 50% of coronavirus cases have no symptoms. In such a case, you’re at risk if you’re standing very close to the infected person, even if you’re wearing a mask.
When & Where to Use Face Masks
You don’t need to wear a mask when you’re at home. But don’t forget to wear a face mask when you step out of your house for work or buying essentials.
A face mask is a very essential equipment of a PPE Kit. BPL Medical Technologies’ PPE Kit covers the whole body to ensure minimizing the risk of getting in contact with any virus, germs, and bacteria. This PPE kit is made with high-quality non-absorbent materials that prevent it from blood, water, and chemicals.
Always keep in mind that we must take all precautions necessary to keep our families safe, and to avoid burdening our medical facilities. In this case, face masks are a simple measure we can take to ensure we’re reducing the risk of possible infection. For more concerns, please rely on verified sources like the WHO to avoid spreading misinformation or panic. We’re all stronger together