Wearing face masks in the UK is becoming increasingly common these days since the Coronavirus outbreak has taken its toll.
In fact, their sudden popularity has created a shortage in the market. Even the doctors and patients who are in need of it the most, find it hard to get hold of them.
So do you need to wear a face mask to protect yourself during this pandemic? If the answer is yes, how often should you do a face mask for it to be effective?
Contradicting policies of the authorities
Initially, the authorities were discouraging its use by the general public. This discouragement by the authorities was not because the face mask wasn’t effective in giving protection against the virus, but because it was effective and they wanted us to spare these protective resources for the ones who really needed it.
However, the policies are somewhat different now. Since the progress of Cornovirus is not levelling, and the numbers are rising by the day, the authorities have started realizing that everyone is entitled to some form of protection. So according to the guidelines of the authorities, how often should you do a face mask?
Although WHO hasn’t yet changed its policy and still recommends the use of face masks only by health workers, patients, and those taking care of them, CDC has a different approach. They advise the general public, those who aren’t sick, to wear cloth coverings on the face. They even have a detailed guide on their website on how to make a face covering.
Who should wear protective face masks?
The answer to the question as to how often should you do a face mask is closely linked to who should wear a face mask since the required frequency is different for everyone. If you are not a health care worker, a patient, or caring for someone who is down with the virus, you may not have to wear it too often.
● Health care workers
According to the guidelines by CDC, health care workers who are treating Corona patients should be wearing these protective face masks quite often. Doing so will lower the chances of catching a virus from the patients they are treatings.
● Those showing symptoms
Face masks are also recommended for anyone who is showing symptoms of COVID-19. It doesn’t matter if the person has yet been tested or not. If they are sneezing, coughing, and/or have a fever, they must immediately start wearing a mask while they are around others. This will prevent them from transmitting the virus to others in case they are infected.
● Those taking care of a Corona patient
If you are in 6 feet of someone who is infected, it’s possible that you could get infected too. That’s what the authorities say. Taking care of a patient, feeding them washing their clothes, and performing other chores could be risky. Make sure you wear a face mask whenever you are in the same room with the patients and follow the other precautions as well to prevent yourself from catching the virus.
What about the rest of us?
So if the medical face masks are for the patients, health workers and carers for the sick, what about the rest of us? How often should you do a face mask if you don’t work at a hospital, are not a patient, and don’t have anyone in the family who is sick?
For the general public, social distancing, hand-washing, and sanitizing are excellent preventive measures to keep themselves protected against the virus. However, some regions, especially the ones that were hit badly by the pandemic, enforce the wearing of face masks in public. If so is the case where you live, a homemade face mask is a much better option than purchasing medical face masks and putting pressure on their availability for the ones who need it more than you.
As to how often should you do a face mask, wear it whenever you go out in a public place, such as the grocery store, pharmacy, or workplace. This will prevent you from being affected in case you are within 6 feet of a possible Corona patient.
Can face masks be reused?
After finding your answer to how often should you do a face mask, you may be starting to wonder if face masks can be reused. Of course, it would be incredibly inconvenient to throw away the face mask each time it’s used and take out a new one the next time you are required to cover your face.
You should know, however, that medical face masks are recommended for a single-use only. Once a health worker has seen a patient, they are supposed to throw that mask and take out a fresh one to see the next patient. However, the availability of these face masks is fairly limited in the current situations, and it’s not possible to follow the conventional techniques.
The CDC has generated a new set of guidelines for the use of face masks to cope with the shortage. They advise extended use or re-use of certain kinds of face masks so that it’s availability isn’t too much of a problem, especially for health workers.
As for the homemade face masks, they can be easily reused after washing and drying. Make sure that the fabric is intact, together with the elastic that’s holding it before reusing it. The homemade face mask should be fully-functional if you plan on using it again. If it’s soiled, torn, or damaged in any other way, you’ll need to discard it and make a fresh one.
That was all about how often should you do a face mask. However, keep in mind that face masks are not the only gears that will get you through this pandemic. Frequent hand-washing, social distancing, and all of the other measures advised by the authorities are equally important in preventing the spread of the virus.