Masks as your ultimate lifesaver in the wake of pandemic COVID-19
The devastating Corona virus has till date affected more than four lakhs of people all around the globe according to Worldometer. The lethal disease has mercilessly taken the lives of thousands. The pandemic has taken a toll on both rich and poor sparing no one based upon country or religion. The virus is actually known as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. Symptoms of the disease include fever, dry cough, fatigue, sputum production, sore throat, shortness of breath, diarrhea, nasal congestion. The acute complications of the disease lead to severe pneumonia, kidney failure. Aged and immunosuppressed people are most exposed to risk. There are no specific drugs or vaccines to treat the disease. Affected patients are being provided supportive treatments. They are being prescribed drugs to relieve the symptoms. Preventive measures are the only savior in this high time.
- How the virus is spreading so rapidly?
The deadly COVID-19 virus is generally getting transmitted from the infected person to a healthy person through respiratory droplets. The coronavirus is contained in the sneeze and the saliva of the affected person. Many people in the patient’s vicinity can get infected if they inhale the air contaminated with the virus. The virus is found to be most contagious when the affected person is symptomatic. But we can also get infected by the asymptomatic sufferers who have not been tested. Because, it may take 14 days for the symptoms to become visible from the onset of infection. This virus can survive on contaminated surfaces or formites like door knobs, smartphones, keyboard for straight 72 hours and can easily infect the people through touch. For this reason, WHO has advised not to touch face, mouth, nose or eye frequently. It has been recommended to sanitize hands and clothes from time to time to keep the infection at bay. This pandemic spreads at a rapid rate when many people have gathered in groups or are travelling through public transport.
- Importance of Masks for Corona virus-
Prevention of this deadly disease will be helpful for fighting against the outbreak. Social distancing has proved to be very effective to prevent spread of this disease as in the case of Russia. Masks must be worn by the affected Corona patients and the health workers, doctors and nurses who belong to the most vulnerable workforce. Patients having any communicable illness like a cold or cough should also wear protective masks. You must wear masks if you are travelling through a COVID-19 affected area in public transport. But WHO has also advised to use the masks reasonably as the stocks are running out faster. According to WHO global generation of masks should increase by forty percent to meet the soaring demand. And there is no need to put a mask on your face if you are completely healthy.
- Different types of masks available-
According to Centre for Disease Control and Prevention there are guidelines for using specified masks for different people.
Disposable masks with ear loops are generally the surgical masks which are worn by the surgeons. These masks are nowadays being used by the COVID-19 patients to prevent the virus in the mucus of sputum or cough droplets going out and infecting others. However, it is less helpful if healthy people wear it for preventing viral particles to enter inside due to its loose fit. The caretakers and people coming in close contact of the patient are also advised to wear this type of mask.
N95 respirator masks are another type of Disposable masks with ear loops. The medical professionals and workers in polluted areas wear this kind of masks. The mask has the capacity to protect us against particles. If this mask is worn appropriately, it can block minimum 95% airborne pathogens. This mask can filter particle aerosols along with bigger pathogenic droplets without leaking around the face of the user. It is strongly prescribed for health workers. N99 masks can block 99% pollutants, but many people found it uncomfortable to inhale through these masks.
P100 Respirator or Gas Masks are reusable masks are worn by painters and woodworkers to protect them from lethal lead, chemical solvents. It has not been recommended against COVID-19.
Full face Respirator masks are available for those people who find it uncomfortable to breathe with a normal mask. Some of these masks come with a purified air supply to aid the people having breathing problems. People having facial hair will find this mask very adjustable to use. This mask is reusable.
- Guidelines for wearing a mask by WHO
Masks can be highly beneficial if combined with frequent hand washing using alcohol based sanitizer or normal soap. You should have adequate knowledge about how to wear and dispose a mask safely before using it.
- Before wearing a mask you should carefully sanitize your hands.
- While putting it on, you have to make sure that it has completely enclosed your mouth and nose without leaving any gap for entry of the virus.
- You should keep yourself away from touching the mask while wearing it. If you touch accidentally then clean your hands immediately to prevent infection.
- Once the mask is damp you should replace it with a fresh one. You shouldn’t use the same mask again and again if it is a disposable single use mask.
- While removing a used mask, never open it by touching the front. Carefully open it from the backside loops. Dispose the mask in closed dustbins. After that sanitize your hands properly.
According to medical experts wearing masks also prevents frequent touching of the face, which is a common cause of the spreading infection.
- Other preventive measures-
The countries are announcing lockdowns and curfews to ban social gathering. Staying indoors and social distancing can combat corona by flattening the curve. While staying at home, we should follow hygienic practices like stepwise hand washing for about 20 seconds. By following proper respiratory hygiene, we can reduce the chances of infection. So, stay home stay safe to wipe out Corona.