Face Masks: The Safety Net Against Airborne COVID-19

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Face masks, as a means to stop the spread of COVID-19, has been used everywhere in the country. Since the beginning of the pandemic, face masks are  one of the frontline requirements to halt the spread. Even then, most do not comply with the regulations and norms for facing the pandemic. Recently, however, a report published in The Lancet changes everything. Masks were promoted for mass use for fear of inhaling any virus particles received from others. Even so, there was no concrete proof to support wearing masks. The Lancet report however provides concrete proof that coronavirus’ primary mode of transmission is through the air.

Even if no one has sneezed in the vicinity, there is still a good chance that COVID-19 viruses are in the air around. It is because, as per the research, coronavirus spreads through smaller aerosols that remain suspended in the air. This could account for the sudden rise in COVID affected people. It is either the lack of awareness or the sheer stubbornness to not follow the norms. While the virus posed a threat before, the coming of the second wave, with mutated strains proves this to be a worse situation. There are disposable gloves and masks for sale in all cities in India, that people should avail themselves of. Only with the first step will everyone be truly protected from the virus.

What Do The Findings Say?

As per the report, “Long-range transmission of SARS-CoV-2 between people in adjacent rooms but never in each other’s presence has been documented in quarantine hotels.” If that’s how far COVID-19 can go without being present next to each other, the situation is worse than was known. The authors of the report also say that around 33% to 59% of all coronavirus cases are due to transmission from before symptoms showed up. Even asymptomatic COVID-19 infected people have contributed to spreading the infection. Wearing a mask has never been optional.

With the statistics mounting up, everyone should heed the wisdom of wearing a mask at all times if possible. The only exception to be made in private space is if that is purged of all viral particles. However, the authors also wrote that the pathogen spread rate is higher indoors compared to outdoors. Indoor ventilation has been reported to substantially reduce the spread, but why take the risk when facing such odds?

 

What Does This Mean For Everyone?

It does not change the fact that people should wear masks. What changes is the certainty that everyone must wear a mask, even if they have to do so in the privacy of their own space. Why so? This is because, as per the report, it has been observed in lab conditions that the pathogen stayed infectious in the air for up to three hours. If people do welcome guests to their homes or have in the recent past, they should keep their mouths and noses covered up. That goes with the inclusion of proper ventilation as well. With sanitizer gel manufacturer products readily available, people should also make use of sanitizers when they can.

Rules To Adhere When Wearing Masks

It isn’t just necessary to wear masks, but also to choose the right kind for protection. Everyone should go for masks that have at least two layers, and preferably more. The best protection is availed by masks made by any N95 mask manufacturer in India. There’s also the matter of how the masks should be worn and precautions to take before and after putting on a mask. Here are a few rules to observe:

  • Everyone should wash & sanitize their hands preferably before and after touching the mask.
  • When putting on the mask, only the bands or ties should come in contact.
  • Everyone must be sure to cover their face, nose and chin. If it needs adjusting, then hands should be washed or sanitized right after.
  • Everyone should only choose to wear masks that are comfortable to talk and breathe in.
  • If wearing reusable masks, for best protection, they must be washed after each use. 
  • Disposable masks should be discarded when they show signs of damage or soiling.

There are more recommendations when it comes to wearing masks. After all, masks do not just protect the wearer, but others around them as well. To make sure that others are guarded against any spreading pathogens, wearers must keep the following in mind:

  • It is not recommended to wear handkerchiefs, gaiter masks or masks with valves, since those have enough space for pathogens to escape into the open, or even infect the wearer.
  • A parent or guardian must make sure not to touch a child’s mask while it is being worn.
  • Masks should not be worn under the chin in any manner that the nose and mouth are exposed.
  • Anyone wearing a mask should never take off their mask while in a public space, even if there isn’t anyone nearby.
  • Most important is not to share a mask with anyone, whether they are family members or friends.

 

Conclusion

Wearing masks is the first line of defence against COVID-19 and more people should realise that now more than ever. Wearing the right masks, the right way can help prevent COVID=19 infection. This is not just a way to protect oneself, but those around as well. After all, every person lost to COVID-19 is a world lost to many.