In the current state of our world, anything that can make us feel more safe and secure is precious. Between economic unpredictability, the COVID-19 pandemic, and political unrest, it seems as if our society is struggling hard at the moment. Individuals all pulled together to get through the coronavirus crisis, by staying at home in quarantine and working out of the office.
These changes came in faster than anyone could say ‘Work from home!’ It took many of us by surprise, and became a big challenge, both mentally and physically, for many people. Preventing coronavirus and staying healthy has become the number one priority for many people, particularly those with disabilities or compromised immune systems, or the elderly. It is a rough, uncertain road ahead, but with safety measures in place, we can at least have some peace of mind.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic is very much still ongoing, the world is opening back up, with some new rules in place. Depending on where you live in the world, the new rules and regulations on where you can go, who you can socialize with, and where you can work may vary. In some countries, businesses are able to welcome employees back to the office very soon (and so business owners may want to click here for a return to work guide). In others, however, people are still being told to work from home. One constant around the world, however, is that citizens are being either encouraged or required to wear a mask.
What Kind Of Mask Should I Wear?
If you are confused about the types of masks available, the truth is, it’s all in how you use them. If you opt for a surgical blue mask, you can only use these once, as they are not washable. The highly popular cloth masks are effective, but only if you wash them between uses, to ensure if there are any virus particles on the fabric, that they are washed away. Face visors are good for lip reading and visibility but require regular cleaning too. There are high-level protective masks such as the NIOSH n95 mask, which includes particle aerosol protection.
But why should you wear a mask? Here are three key benefits of wearing a face mask during the coronavirus pandemic.
Protecting Those Around You
Of course, this is a very obvious one, but it’s highly important that we all understand just how easily COVID-19 is passed. Wearing a face mask in public spaces in which you are likely to come within 6 feet of another person, such as the supermarket, public transport, a doctor’s office, or at work, helps protect those around you from coronavirus.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. You don’t have the coronavirus. Well, who’s to say? Research has shown that up to a staggering 80% of COVID-19 carriers are mild or asymptomatic, with 15% of cases being severe and requiring oxygen, with the remaining 5% being critical and needing ventilation. That means if you have no respiratory conditions and are young, fit, and healthy, you could be carrying COVID-19 without even knowing it. Wearing a mask in public means that if you are an asymptomatic carrier of the virus, you will be protecting others from infection which could risk their lives.
Protecting Yourself From COVID-19 Carriers
On the other side of the coin, wearing a mask can help prevent others from giving you the virus, too. Research has shown that masks prevent you from spreading the virus to others more effectively than protecting you from others, however, if both people are wearing masks, the chance of infection is reduced dramatically. Studies have found that the more people in a community who mask up, the better long term outcomes there will be. A study at the University of California and San Francisco states that up to 33,000 deaths in the USA could be prevented by October 1st 2020, if 95% of people wore masks to protect themselves.
Preventing Face-Touching Habits
We all touch our faces without realizing it. When you wear a mask, you’ll be alarmed at how many times you reach up to itch, wipe, or just touch your face. If you are out and about and you touch something that has recently been touched by a COVID-19 carrier, then you touch your face, you are highly likely to be infected. Wearing a mask over your nose and mouth will remind you not to absent-mindedly touch your face.
Keeping ourselves, our families and our communities safe is highly important at this time. Without a collective effort, the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to hurt our world. Ensure you invest today in a mask, and do your part for the community!