Coronavirus is what everyone is talking about these days. It emerged somewhere in December 2019 and has taken its toll since the beginning of 2020. We are all exposed and at risk of catching the virus, especially when going out in public. However, don’t consider yourself defenceless against the malicious virus since the authorities, such as WHO and CDC have given specific guidelines on how to prevent yourself from catching it.
We have face masks, sanitizers, hand-washing, and social distancing as some very effective weapons against the virus. You may have had different questions in your mind regarding the COVID-19 itself and its preventive measures.
In the panic that it has created, we are all paranoid and will do whatever it takes to stay safe. Among the hundreds of questions that cross your mind, if you have ever been concerned about how often should you use a face mask, you’ll find your answer right here.
There are different scenarios in which wearing a face mask is an absolute must. You don’t need to wear it all day and keep yourself uncomfortable since that’s not what’s required. While you are safe indoors and there isn’t anyone sneezing or coughing among your family, you can give these face masks a rest.
However, don’t forget to practice other preventive measures such as frequent handwashing, disinfecting surfaces and assuming social distancing.
So if you don’t need to keep wearing face masks all day, how often should you use a face mask? Here is a list of the different situations in which you need to protect yourself by wearing a mask:
While you are at the hospital
If you’re a health care worker, a respirator is highly recommended for you for your own safety as well as those around you. It will help you keep protected from the infectious particles in the air and will also prevent you from becoming a carrier of the disease to the rest of the population.
Also for those who are visiting the hospital for a checkup, it is advised to wear a face mask to prevent yourself from catching the disease since there may be potential corona patients in the vicinity that you may or may not know about.
While you are sick
Other than health care workers, WHO also strongly recommends the use of a face mask if you are sick. Whether you are tested positive for Coronavirus or are showing symptoms such as coughing and sneezing, it’s best that you wear a respirator even at home to prevent those around you from catching it.
A face mask, in this case, will prevent the infectious particles from the sick person’s sneeze or cough from contaminating the air around him or her. It should be worn regularly, together with following the other guidelines such as hand-washing and distancing.
If you’re sick, you need to keep aloof from the rest of the family, in a separate room until you have recovered completely. That answers the question as to how often should you use a face mask if you are sick.
While you are taking care of a sick
You will also need to wear a face mask often if you are taking care of someone in your home who is sick. If you have a potential Corona patient in your home, here are some of the things you need to do:
- Allocate a separate room where the patient can be isolated from the rest of the family.
- Have an adequate supply of masks in your home that can be worn by the corona patient and by others if they are ever in the same room. Also, understand which varieties of masks are reusable and which ones are disposable. Surgical masks are meant for one-time use.
- Always wear a mask when you are around the patient in the same room to offer them food or taking care of them. Advise the patient to do the same.
- Wash your hands properly or use an alcohol-based sanitizer as soon as you leave the patient’s room.
- Regularly disinfect the surfaces that are likely to be touched often, such as doorknobs and handles.
That’s how often should you use a face mask if you are taking care of a sick.
While you are in a public place
Recommendations by the authorities have been conflicting as to how often should you use a face mask while you are out in public. WHO, currently, only recommends frequent use of face masks for health care providers, patients, and those taking care of the patients.
The CDC, on the other hand, has a different approach. While it presented similar guidelines as WHO in the past, they now recommend the use of homemade face masks in public places.
Coverings made out of cloth will do a good enough job at preventing infectious particles from reaching your nose and mouth, while also leaving the medical face masks such as N95 face mask more accessible to those who need it more, like patients, their caretakers, and doctors.
As for how often should you use a face mask while you’re in public, put it on before you head out, and take it off when you’re back indoors. Make sure you don’t touch the mask and remove it from the inside area. Discard it right away if it was only meant for a single-use. Wearing some sort of covering is especially recommended in crowded places such as the pharmacies and grocery stores since other customers may be close to you.
We hope this answers your dilemma as to how often should you use a face mask. Of course, no one has the patience or the will to keep it on all day long, and you don’t need to. As long as you follow the recommendations of the authorities you’ll keep yourself and others safe.