Vaccine is here, and the cases are declining, so are masks still necessary? Let’s address the burning question – should you continue wearing face masks.
Only a few months back, we would have never thought that leaving the house without a face mask on would seem like a taboo. But as unpredictable as life is, COVID-19 entered our life, and changed it forever. And we had to wear face masks every day to do our bit in stopping the virus outbreak as a responsible citizen.
Although many people still argue about the effectiveness of valved face masks in reducing the number of COVID-19 cases, but face masks have stood the test of time as the most basic, yet most powerful tool to safeguard public health. The Director of CDS (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention) in the US went to the extent of saying that if all the people wore a face mask for a couple of weeks, the pandemic would have been successfully controlled. Today, let us address the burning question – should you continue wearing face masks!
How Do Masks Help in Controlling the Virus Outbreak?
When a COVID patient sneezes, coughs, or even talks, he transmits his respiratory droplets into the air, which then travel to other people, and make them sick. Coronavirus mainly spreads through inhaling an infected person’s respiratory droplets, or by coming in direct contact with contaminated surfaces. We know that this knowledge is not new for any of us, but we wanted to keep it as a prologue for you to understand the role of face masks like P2 masks in curbing the spread of the virus.
Here is how non-valved face masks can help you win the battle against COVID-19:
- Reduce the chances of catching the virus from an infected person.
- Reduce the chances of transmitting the virus to others, in case you are COVID positive.
- Lower risk of getting infected in case you are caring for a COVID positive person.
- Studies show that masks help to keep the wearer conscious about social distancing and sanitization.
Most Efficient and Commonly Available Face Masks
- N95 Respirator
One of the most vital personal protective equipment, N95 masks fit on your face like a seal to effectively restrain airborne particles from entering your nose and mouth. These one-time-use masks are widely used in healthcare facilities.
- Face Shield
Besides your mouth and nose, face shields offer protection to your eyes too. They are easy and comfortable to wear, and hence, preferred by a lot of people. However, several renowned medical institutions suggest wearing a face shield with mask for added protection, or only when you cannot wear mask due to some reason. But they should not be used as a substitute to face masks.
- P2 Face Mask
A P2 mask is just like an N95 mask in terms of design, wearability and safety. These half-face particulate respirators offer optimum protection against the virus, and are meant to be disposed after every use.
- Valved Face Mask
Valved face masks are masks with visible exhalation valves or vents that allow for easier breathing. But as they don’t support source control (do not prevent the wearer to pass the COVID virus on to others), these masks are not recommended by senior doctors.
- Cloth Mask
Cloth masks or fabric masks are the most common type of non-surgical masks. These cloth face coverings are widely used by people in public spaces due to their easy wearability.
Vaccine is Here, So Why Should We Wear Masks?
Today, the vaccines are out, and the number of COVID-19 cases has declined significantly, but the situation hasn’t gone back to normal yet. The government and authorities are regularly indicating the masses to wear N95 masks as even the most effective vaccines take time to develop immune response. In addition to the delayed immune response, vaccinating the entire world population is not a task to be accomplished within a few weeks, or even months. And hence, medical prodigies from around the world are maintaining that it is only wise to keep wearing masks for as long as it takes.
To Wear or Not to Wear – What to Choose?
Springer Nature, a renowned publishing company has stated that not only do safety face masks help prevent the spread of coronavirus, but also help lower the viral inoculum (Coronavirus dose) for the wearer. This implies that even if a person wearing an N95 mask catches the virus, it will not be as severe (he might come out as asymptomatic too) as it can be for a person who is not wearing it. Thus, masks should continue to be a necessity in order to play safe, and prevent deaths. So, let us treat face safety masks as a winning tool, and keep wearing it until the day we bring COVID cases down to a zero.