Do Face Masks Provide Protection against COVID-19?

The Government’s Verdict

Despite the outcry by the public, the government in the UK, the Department of Health, and the Public Health England (PHE) are set against the use of masks by the general public. This is despite the fact that other nations such as the US, Spain, and Germany have now all advised their people to wear face masks in public.

Why Wearing a Mask Can Help

Did you know that a significant number of people with coronavirus are asymptomatic, i.e., they exhibit no symptoms of the virus? Meanwhile, those who do exhibit the symptoms can transmit the virus to those around them before the symptoms appear. This means that you can essentially contract COVID-19 if an infected person sneezes or coughs and the resulting respiratory droplets land in your mouth, eyes or nose.

This is why many countries such as the US, Spain, and Germany have advised their people to start wearing cloth face masks whenever they have to step out of their house. This prerequisite is especially recommended when people can’t practice effective social distancing, for instance, in pharmacies or grocery stores.

However, this recommendation doesn’t mean that you start stocking up on surgical or N95 masks; you need to wear cloth masks instead. This is because the surgical and N95 masks are critical supplies for healthcare professionals and first responders. These are people who are on the frontline in the fight against COVID-19.

Wearing Masks Can Help You Protect Others

Many asymptomatic people who have the virus are stepping out of their homes and infecting others without even knowing it. This is why, to err on the side of caution, you must wear a mask when you are out in public or surrounded by people. A mask will act as a physical barrier between you and them. It will protect those around you from the infection.

Even though a cloth mask is not enough to protect an individual from contracting the virus altogether, it does offer respiratory protection. This means that if you have the virus and you sneeze or cough in public, the mask will protect those around you from contracting it. Simply put, a cloth mask protects the environment from the unsuspecting COVID-19 carrier. Moreover, it will also offer some protection by keeping your mouth and nose covered. This will prevent you from accidentally touching them with dirty hands.

I hope this answers the question, “Can wearing a face mask protect you from contracting COVID-19?”

How to Make a Cloth Mask at Home

The best way to avoid contributing to the shortage of masks for NHS workers is to fashion a cloth mask at home. Use an old bandana or T-shirt to make one. Just make sure to secure it with ear loops and include multiple layers of protective fabric. Also, make sure it’s snug on your face and made from washable material.

Practice Safe Measures While Handling the Mask

You need to handle your face mask the right way. Here are some important things to remember:

Ø Wash your hands when wearing and taking off your mask.

Ø Take off the mask by touching the bands and not the cloth.

Ø Wash your mask daily or after every use with a detergent that contains bleach.

Ø Avoid wearing a mask if you have trouble breathing

FAQs About Cloth Masks

Here are some helpful FAQs about cloth masks:

Should I wash my cloth mask regularly?

Ideally, you should wash the mask as frequently as you wear it.

How do I clean my cloth mask?

Use a washing machine and the warmest water setting to wash your mask.

How do I safely remove my mask?

Make sure that you don’t touch your mouth, nose, and eyes while removing the mask and you wash your hands right after.

The Bottom Line

We hope to have answered the question, “Can wearing a face mask protect you from contracting COVID-19?” Remember it is better to be safe than to be sorry, so there is no harm in making your own mask and wearing it in public.

With that said, stay safe, practice social distancing, wash your hands as often as possible, and stay at least 6 feet away from other people. Most importantly, stay calm during these trying times and keep yourself and your loved ones safe!

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