Coronavirus: Should I wear a Face mask now?

Here is everything that you need to know about face masks in this Covid-19 pandemic. face masks are on everyone’s lips today or at least it is discussed extensively and relentlessly.

As more and more people in Kenya are wearing face masks to protect against the coronavirus. One question comes to mind.

Do mouth-nose protective masks hardly help to protect you? Are you even running the risk of getting infected more easily?

Well, some people argue that there are no good scientific studies that can prove that protective masks protect against the coronavirus.

Yet others say, it doesn’t hurt – and it seems quite plausible that they might be of some use. But there is no simple answer to this question. The topic of protective masks is extremely complex.

Let’s take a closer look.

Should I wear a Face mask now?

Can I protect myself against the coronavirus with a Face mask?

In all possibility, at least when you are out in the fresh air: No. This is due to the fact that the risk of infection is generally low outdoors if you keep the distance requirement.

This is true for a good reason: Keeping away reliably prevents you from being infected with the coronavirus.

For this reason alone, a requirement does not make sense to always have to wear such masks outside.

And the advocates usually also admit that scientific studies do not come to the conclusion that wearing a face mask protects against infections.

Can I protect other people from the coronavirus with a Face mask?

This situation is a bit different if you ask the other way round: If I cannot protect myself with a mask: Can I – if I myself am unknowingly infected – at least protect other people?

Here you can answer with a careful “yes”. Because even a simple mouthguard keeps some of the infectious, larger virus droplets off when you cough or speak.

In addition, emerging small droplets (aerosols) are slowed down and no longer fly as far as without protection.

But in this case too, of course, distance is the best protection. And others may not be as strict when wearing a protective mask.

In which case can mouth-nose protection masks be useful?

If you have to travel by bus or train or have to sit in a small waiting room at the doctor’s for a while, you may want to take every little opportunity to protect yourself and others.

Even people with certain medical conditions should wear masks to protect them.

However, it remains important in such situations that the most important safety requirements should not be neglected, even with a protective mask, keep your distance, and wash your hands regularly.

Is a mask requirement the solution?

  1. Wearing masks “seduces” you into not being careful; for example, keeping your distance from people.
  2. Masks have to be changed regularly, as they become moist due to the air we breathe and their “barrier function” against the coronavirus decreases.
  3. Especially with homemade masks, there is no instruction on how to use a protective mask properly so as not to expose yourself to an additional risk of infection.

Until all hospitals, doctor’s surgeries and nursing homes are permanently provided with sufficient masks, it seems downright negligent to introduce a mandatory mask.

In medical facilities, not only the better protective so-called FFP2 and FFP3 masks are used, but also the simple mouth-nose protective masks.

This is not just about protection against the coronavirus, but about comprehensive protection against viruses and bacteria of all kinds.

And a nurse in the hospital naturally comes much closer to a patient than a customer in the supermarket to the cashier.

What do homemade masks bring?

In the meantime, many sewing instructions for homemade masks are circulating on the Internet.

Initial studies have shown that such masks work even worse than professional masks.

If you do not use cotton that is too thin, at least more than half of the large droplets should be collected.

Different materials offer different protection

It is important to note that the permeability of certain bacteria has been tested here.

However, bacteria are on average a hundred times larger than viruses. To what extent the result can be transferred to the coronavirus is therefore unclear.

However, it is about stopping larger droplets that arise when you cough or speak.

In this respect, it seems plausible to refer to these values when deciding for or against a certain substance.

This is also confirmed by a study that examined how governments can prepare for a potential flu pandemic.

Is it dangerous to wear a face mask?

If there were enough masks, you could, of course, say: “Then just wear them. You won’t get hurt. ” But that’s exactly the problem. First, there are currently not enough masks. And those in existence should be reserved for medical and nursing staff.

Secondly, while the benefits are not or hardly verifiable, wearing protection masks can also be dangerous that is if you use them incorrectly. And that almost inevitably happens. Many people often use the mask to check or correct the fit.

Often, you will see people who put their masks under their chin in the meantime and pull it in front of their face again in a supposed “danger” situation. The coronavirus can be caught by a smear infection.

How to protect against droplet infections.

  • Always assume that you are not wearing a mask.
  • Treat the facemask as if it were contaminated with viruses.
  • Avoid touching the mask at all costs and wash your hands after removing the mask.
  • Don’t give up on social distancing from other people.
  • Cough and sneeze despite wearing the mask in the elbow of the arm

What to watch out for when using Face masks?

If you have decided that you want to wear a simple mouth-nose protective mask, then kin follow the instructions below so as to not increase your risk of infection by wearing it!

1. Prepare

  • Tie long hair back into a braid.
  • Shave beard; ideally smooth, but at least so far that it completely disappears under the mask.
  • Wash hands very thoroughly with soap.

2. Tighten

  • Only touch the mask from the outside.
  • Hold the mask by the rubber bands, hold it in front of your face, and pull both rubber bands behind your ears.
  • Press the mask’s nose piece onto your nose so that the mask fits snugly against your nose and cheeks.
  • Then, pull the mask down over your chin with your thumb and index finger.
  • Lastly,  put on the glasses or safety glasses.

3. Wear

  • Do not touch the mask with your hands.
  • Do not pull the mask under your chin in between and bring it back over your face later. Then you have to put on a new mask.

4. Take off and dispose of

  • Never touch the mask with your hands, but pull both rubber bands forward with your hands at the same time.
  • Hold your breath briefly as you lose weight, as there may be viruses on the surface of the mask.
  • Then throw the disposable masks into a covered trash can.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap.

You can find more information about when and how to use a mask on the WHO website

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