A User’s guide to face Masks

Remember, any face covering is better than no face covering

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Mask Lady
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Naripen Goyal
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Due to COVID-19 Pandemic and Government orders wearing masks have become a symbol of social responsibility and mandatory. We have various types of Masks like N95 respirator masks, Medical masks also called as surgical masks or procedural masks, homemade fabric masks. An N95 mask is meant to protect medical workers who come into contact with high doses of the virus while visiting and carrying out medical procedures on multiple patients.

The rest of us don’t need that level of protection, so these masks should be reserved for health care workers only.  Compared to the N95 mask, a medical mask filters about 60 to 80 percent of particles and, mostly blocks “large-particle droplets, splashes, sprays or splatter that may contain germs.”

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The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that we cover our faces with a scarf or homemade fabric mask when we are in public. Sh. Narinder Modi , Honorable Prime Minister have also supported covering our faces with scarf ( “Gamchha“) when we are in public and we all have seen Honorable  Prime Minister with his face covered with a scarf during ” Mann Ki Baat” and address to Nation. 

The effectiveness of homemade masks varies depending on the fabric used, the style and the fit. Recent studies have shown that even a simple mask does a pretty good job of protecting the world from your outgoing germs and is very effective at trapping droplets from your coughs and sneezes.  You don’t need a super-efficient mask if you’re practicing social distancing and washing your hands. Remember, any face covering is better than no face covering.

Also read: FAQs: Does hair, debit card etc carry coronavirus ?

And if you use a fabric with decent filtration potential, you increase your chances of avoiding the virus. The bottom line is that when you practice social distancing, wash your hands and wear a mask during those times when you must leave the house, you are lowering your risk for getting sick.

To get the most out of your mask, never try to cheat the mask, make sure you wear it correctly and at the right time. Put a mask on and take one off correctly. Always wash your hands first. Don’t touch the fabric part of the mask .Use the ear loops or ties to secure your mask and to remove it.

Take good Care of your Mask. Medical masks and N95 masks should be saved for medical workers, but if you have a medical mask, you should know that it was designed for one-time use. Never put Mask in  the oven because of the potential to reach too high a temperature and melt the plastic fibers, thus damaging the mask,” If you have multiple masks, the best strategy is to rotate use of the masks over several days, which gives time for the virus to die.

For medical workers, one strategy is to keep a set of five masks, so they can wear a new mask every day and return to the first mask on the sixth day. The safest thing to do might be to put the mask somewhere safely out of reach. Over a few days, the viruses should decay. In fact, studies have found that viruses usually decay faster on fabric and other porous materials than on hard materials like steel or plastic.” It’s much easier to clean a fabric mask than a medical mask.

The  Center for Disease Control and Prevention says fabric masks should be washed routinely just using regular laundry soap, avoid chemicals like  bleach or hydrogen peroxide because  that can degrade fibers. The important thing is to avoid damaging the fibers in the mask. You can use the dryer or let it air dry. Although it’s not necessary, you can also go over it with a hot iron for a full assault on any germs that might remain.