Rolling out of COVID vaccination does not mean that we have successfully contained the virus and are no longer at risk of infection.With a country size like India, it would take about six months to vaccinate half of the population and till the time we do not touch the mark, it is too early to assume anything. Besides, as the new highly contagious COVID variants have begun spreading in different parts of the world, it is even more important to be cautious. Wearing a mask is one of the effective ways to cut down the risk of infection and for optimal protection, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended a few new things you should be doing with your mask.
Doubling your mask
Wearing two masks might seem strange to you, but as per studies, it works. As per the updated guidelines of the CDC, wearing a cloth mask over a surgical mask provides more protection against the virus. The idea behind doubling the mask is that it can protect from airborne particles that most people might be inhaling through a poorly fitted mask. The first mask can serve as a physical barrier and the second one can filter the remaining particles. Moreover, it fits perfectly on the face and can reduce the exposure to the virus by about 90 per cent (one mask can only guarantee 50 per cent protection).
Knotting the ear loops
Knotting the ends of the ear loops is another way to ensure that the mask covers your mouth and nose completely and there is no way you can come in close contact with the virus. This trick to fix the loose mask was shared in August last year by a dentist named Olivia Cuid from Montreal. Now even CDC has stated that this trick can reduce exposure by more than 95 per cent. All you have to do is take both the ear loops of the mask and tie a knot close to the sides of the mask. Open the mask and tuck in the openings on the sides underneath the ear loops. This will improve the fitting and will provide a better seal.
Using mask fitterOther effective options to improve the fitting is to use a mask fitter or nylon covering over the mask. Using a mask fitter or brace over your cloth mask can prevent air from leaking out and will also prevent you from inhaling the aerosol particles. You can also use a high-quality filter material such as a vacuum bag or HEPA filter and wear double masks. That way, you get three layers of protection. This can protect from the virus by at least 90 per cent.
Steps to follow while wearing the mask
Masks are essential for primary protection against coronavirus, which can lead to infection of the upper respiratory system. One needs to be very careful while wearing and removing them. A simple mistake could increase the risk of infection. Here are a few things that you must do while wearing and removing the mask.
While wearing a mask:
Step 1: Wash your hands properly with soap and water or 70 per cent alcohol-based sanitiser before touching the mask.
Step 2: Inspect the mask for damage and dirt.
Step 3: Put on the marks on your face properly, covering your mouth, nose and chin. There should not be any gaps on the sides.
While removing the mask:
Step 1: Clean your hands with soap and water or sanitiser before removing the mask.
Step 2: Remove the mask by the straps behind the ears or head.
Step 3: If the mask is not dirty then store it in a plastic bag, else wash it with soap and hot water.
Step 4: Clean your hand after removing your mask.
(Times of India)