One of the vital COVID-19 preventing measures that have been put in place is wearing facemasks. However, facemasks are not recommended because they can prevent the spread of the virus, but they can reduce the chances of an infected person transmitting it to someone else. Because of this, there has been an increased demand for masks. With different types of masks also being available to choose from.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, surgical masks were mostly used in hospitals and other healthcare facilities. These masks are made with multiple layers, and they fit loosely over the mouth and nose. Although they are great at shielding you from large sneeze droplets, sprays, and cough droplets, these masks will not offer a lot of protection against smaller droplets. These masks are also not reusable since they can easily result in self-contamination.
Cloth face masks
The rising demand for facemasks led to the CDC providing guidelines for cloth face masks. These are made from different types of clothing materials ranging from bandanas to t-shirts. Tightly woven fabrics are preferred for this type of masks, which is why cotton is usually recommended. However, a combination of different types of fabrics was proven to be more effective than cotton alone.
These masks offer a tighter face-covering than surgical masks, and they provide more protection as well. They are made with tangled fibers to sieve pathogens, and their snuggle fit ensures no pathogens escape into your mouth and nose. Due to the level of protection respirators have, they are ideal for healthcare workers who are in contact with coronavirus patients.
Importance of facemasks
While most people infected with coronavirus are showing symptoms, an equally large number are infected but are not showing symptoms. The asymptomatic patients are still capable of transmitting the disease to others, which makes mingling with them equally dangerous. Facemasks come in handy at preventing such transmissions, which is why they are recommended for public use. Therefore, the use of masks can reduce the transmission rate, mainly when used with other preventive measures such as social distancing and frequent handwashing.
Where to use facemasks
If you are taking care of someone infected, you must wear a mask every time you go near them, especially when they are exhibiting symptoms like coughing and sneezing. It’s also advisable that you wear a facemask when you go to public places where you may not maintain the recommended 1.5 m distance. Examples of such places include public transport, retail and grocery stores, hospitals and pharmacies, and offices. Face covering is also more important for those 60 years and older and has pre-existing medical conditions as they are considered to be more at risk.
Making face masks at home
Making facemasks at home is easy, especially when you follow the directives given by the CDC. You can use different sewing techniques, but regardless of the method you use, you will need scissors, pieces of cloth, and tape measures. When made correctly, homemade face masks offer at least 95% protection.
Wearing safe masks safely
It’s not enough to make them properly. You also have to wear them correctly to maintain high levels of safety. Some of the tips that can help you include:
- Making sure the face masks aren’t interfering with your breathing
- Making sure the mask covers both the mouth and the nose
- Making sure it fits snuggly to prevent slipping and to ensure there are no gaps. It’s better if the mask is adjustable.
- Washing the mask after every use.
Frequently asked questions
Why should I wear a cloth face mask and not a medical one?
Medical masks should be reserved for healthcare workers in the frontline in the fight against coronavirus elimination.
How can I access facemasks?
Cloth facemasks are available at retail stores for the general public, but medical masks are mostly hospitals for healthcare workers.
Do facemasks prevent coronavirus?
No. However, they reduce your chances of getting the disease of transmitting it to others. It’s advisable that you wash your hands regularly, and you practice social distancing even if you’re using a mask.
Is it safe to wash facemasks?
Yes. You can wash your cloth facemask after every use. You can use a washing machine or your hands as well as a bleach solution. Remember that if used properly, face-covering can greatly reduce your chances of getting the disease.