There is more to face masks that shield you against Covid

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Sandhya Govind

Sandhya Govind

Auckland, October 11, 2021

                                              In the face of Covid-coverings are becoming mandatory (from covid19.govt.nz website)

 The face mask is an extremely effective tool used against the spread of viruses and infectious diseases.

Wearing masks and face coverings has been proved to be an efficient way of keeping people safe and protecting others since the Covid-19 pandemic began. Masks can protect us from infectious droplets and particles when we are in close proximity to an infected person.

These infectious droplets are released into the air when the infectious person speaks, laughs, coughs, sneezes or even breathes.

In the case of people who have Covid-19, face masks can reduce the number of germs that they release into the atmosphere, thus protecting others from being infected. 

Additional safety measures

However, wearing a mask does not mean that you have complete protection against the virus. Masks should be used along with other Covid-specific health and safety measures such as getting both doses of the Covid vaccine, physical distancing, good ventilation, hand washing as well as avoiding crowded places and indoor spaces with poor ventilation.

The New Zealand government has recommended that all of us wear a face covering and maintain two metres distance from people outside our bubble when we are under Alert Levels 2, 3 and 4. It has also made it mandatory that masks be worn on all forms of public transport and at transport hubs such as airports, train and ferry stations and bus stops.

Masks should also be worn compulsorily while visiting healthcare or aged care facilities, vet clinics, all retail and food outlets, educational institutions and all public areas.

It is therefore very important that face masks are worn consistently and appropriately and that we follow proper hygiene while putting on, wearing and removing face masks, to prevent ourselves from contracting or spreading Covid19.

 

Masks can protect from infectious droplets and particles (from covid19.govt.nz website)

 How to put on a face mask

Clean your hands with soap and water or hand sanitiser before touching the mask.

Make sure the mask is not torn or has holes on the sides.

Place the mask on your face with the coloured side facing outwards and the stiff, bendable edge resting on the top of your nose

If the mask has ear loops, hold the mask by the loops and place a loop around each ear. Pinch the stiff edge to the shape of your nose.

If the mask has ties, take the bottom ties, one in each hand, and secure with a bow at the nape of your neck and then tie the top ties.

Do not cross the straps because this can cause gaps on the side of your face.

Pull the bottom of the mask over your mouth and chin. Adjust it to make sure there are no gaps on the sides. If the edges of the mask are not close to the face and if the mask shifts while speaking, contaminated air may go in through the edges of the mask.

Some important precautions

A mask that is frequently pulled down to breathe or talk, or is worn under the nose, is not effective. Avoid touching the mask while wearing it. If you touch it, clean your hands.

Change your mask if it gets dirty or wet.

The mask should sit on your face without leaving any gaps; it is important that most of the air you breathe in and outflows through the mask rather than around the mask through gaps at the sides, top or bottom. Do not store your mask around your arm or wrist or pull it down to rest around your chin or neck. If you need to temporarily take off the mask for any reason, store it in a clean plastic bag.

 

The MEO Lite masks come with repel droplets and a filter cover

How to remove a face mask

Wash or sanitise your hands before touching the mask. Do not touch the front of the mask as it could be contaminated. Only touch the ear loops/ties/band

If the mask has ear loops, hold both the ear loops and gently lift and remove the mask.

If the mask has ties, untie the bottom bow first, then untie the top bow and pull the mask away from you as the ties are loosened.

If the mask has bands, lift the bottom strap over your headfirst, and then pull the top strap over your head.

As you remove the mask, lean forward and pull the mask away from your face.  

Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose and mouth when removing your mask.

If your fabric mask is not dirty or wet and you plan to reuse it, put it in a clean plastic, resealable bag. If you are taking it out to reuse it, hold the mask at the loops when removing it from the bag.

Get rid of disposable masks safely by throwing them into a garbage bin. Once you have removed the mask, clean your hands again.

Wash fabric masks in soap or detergent and hot water at least once a day. If you wash it in cold or room temperature water, boiling the mask for one minute.

Dry the mask completely before you use it again. Do not use a damp mask.

By getting ourselves vaccinated and by wearing masks and taking other precautions recommended or mandated by the authorities, we are showing respect for others and are doing our bit to help lessen the spread of Covid-19.  

Till vaccination goals are met internationally, and possibly even after that, mask-wearing will remain essential worldwide. Therefore, it is important that we do it right so that we protect ourselves and everybody around us in our collective effort to beat this pandemic.

Sandhya Govind is a qualified and trained Naturopath and runs the ‘Sandhya’s Naturopathy Clinic,’ an integrated Natural Medicine facility, which helps people rediscover optimal health, radiance and vitality naturally. She provides holistic support including Herbal Medicine, Supplements, Health Coaching, Diet Advice and Mineral Therapy. Ms Govind also creates Crossword and Word Search puzzles for Indian Newslink Digital Edition every fortnight. She can be contacted on 021-0709243. Email: sandhyanaturopathy@gmail.com 

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