Face masks are at its highest demand in times of virus outbreaks like SARS, MERS-CoV, H1N1, and now, the rapidly spreading Novel Coronavirus a.k.a. nCoV.
Everyone is encouraged to wear a surgical mask to help prevent the spreading of the virus, but does face mask really works?
Says the New York Times, cheap disposable face masks don’t block ‘all’ the viruses due to the gaps around the mouth that still lets you breathe the unfiltered air. However, these face masks can still help protect you from infectious breathable particles, but not as much as we think.
So, YES, surgical face masks can protect you. But ‘just wearing it’ doesn’t make it happen – wearing it CORRECTLY and CONSISTENTLY will.
Step by step guide to wear your mask correctly
- Do proper hand washing BEFORE putting on the mask.
- When taking the mask out from its box or packaging, try not to touch the white side to avoid any bacteria to go into your mouth and nose when you wear it.
- When putting on the mask, make sure the colored side of the mask (whatever color) faces OUTWARDS leaving the white side facing your mouth.
- While the mask is on, DO NOT do anything that would expose you to any external objects (i.e. putting your fingers underneath the mask to scratch your nose or mouth, removing the mask while having a phone call, etc.). Remember that you are blocking all possible particles to go in, so don’t expose yourself to it.
- When removing the mask, detach one ear loop and pull the whole mask towards the other loop without letting your hands touch your face while doing this.
- Immediately dispose of the mask by folding it outwards – colored side folded in leaving the white side facing out. This is done to avoid touching the bacteria covering the exposed side/colored side. Then, put it in the trash bin and make sure you close the bin properly.
- Immediately wash your hands thoroughly after disposal of the mask.
Remember, consistency is key so don’t just wear the mask correctly, wear it consistently to really get yourself protected.
Touching your face, not just your nose and mouth, needs to be highly avoided to protect yourself against novel Coronavirus (nCoV). So if your face is really itchy, use a clean tissue paper to rub your face with and dispose of it right away. But again, if you are wearing a mask and you feel an itch underneath it, just scratch your face without removing the mask or putting your hands under it as mentioned in #4.
Source: The New York Times