With the rise in the number of COVID-19 cases when the entire country is under lockdown we still need to take preventive measures such as social distancing, washing our hands regularly and wearing a mask, even if it is a homemade one. Although wearing a mask is a good precaution and has also been advised by the Centres of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Health Ministry of India, if you are not wearing it correctly or not using the proper guidelines it may be ineffective and not offer the intended prevention or safety.
The first and foremost thing to do is to understand what is the right way to wear a mask. Although a homemade mask may not be the best form of protection but at least it will offer some defence. You must have a mask when you are going out in public places or if you are around a COVID-19 confirmed or suspected case.
The things you must NOT do are as follows:
- Never wear an ill-fitting mask that is loose and covers only your mouth, as this many not offer you any protection and may leave you vulnerable to the virus attack and infection.
2) Not use a cheap quality mask. Both surgical and cloth masks are okay if used correctly.
3) Don’t take off the mask as soon as you come close to your house or a safe place, it must be taken off inside the house or a safe place only after washing your hands with a disinfectant and also touching only the strings of the mask not the inside as you may contaminate the mask.
4) Do not clean the mask with just plain water, or ineffective mild soaps, use a disinfectant to clean the mask once you get home. You may wash your cloth home-made masks in warm water with a drop of disinfectant.
5) Do not remove the mask while talking. The purpose of the mask is to protect the saliva and droplets form the nose or mouth of an infected person or carrier from coming onto you therefore a mask must be kept on at all times when you are conversing with outsiders.
It is very important to wear a mask because asymptomatic patients do not show any signs of illness and may be just carriers who are capable of infecting others like you, if you remove your mask and allow them to do so.
Therefore, wearing a mask is essential but careful attention must be paid to the important guidelines attached to wearing it so that it offers good protection to you and the others. The mask if worn right along with the adherence to its’ guidelines, serves as the key to prevention of the deadly COVID – 19.