Face masks: Why is There So Much Noise Around Them?
If you live on Earth- which I suppose you do- chances are you have seen at least ten people wearing a face mask today (or perhaps 50?).
What is the noise around wearing these face masks, anyway?
If we traveled some months back in time, hardly would anyone be able to predict the current spike in the usage of masks. So, why do we use them?
As you will read every word of this article, you will begin to discover the ‘why’ around the use of face masks. The following words would be as explanatory as possible, that even if you had been in a coma since January, you wouldn’t have a hard time understanding them.
Why face masks?
All was going well- businesses were thriving, friends were socializing- the world, as we knew it, was normal.
Normal…until the novel coronavirus attacked, and a medical crisis was born.
Later, the virus was named the SARS-CoV-2, and the disease was called COVID-19. While just anyone could have it, older adults with underlying health conditions are more at risk of serious illness.
Just as you would predict, as humans, it is in our nature to adapt to situations- regardless of how daring or life-threatening the condition is. So, while the search for a vaccine is on-going, other means were devised through which people can prevent getting the virus.
One of such means is the use of face masks.
There are a variety of face masks- disposable surgical face masks, 3M N95 respirators which is a type of N95 masks, and homemade cloth face masks.
All of these are for sale in the US and are as well in stock online and in physical shops. Before you buy one, always be sure that it is best for you.
How do Facemasks Work?
Basically, what a facemask does is to prevent the transfer of droplets from one person to another.
How are we sure they work? Being a PPE, there are several strands of experiments attesting to their effectiveness.
In one of such experiment s , laboratory studies of respiratory droplets- and the ability of masks to block them- were carried out. Using high-speed video, it was found out that although hundreds of droplets- ranging from 20 to 500 micrometers- were generated by saying a simple phrase, almost all of them were blocked when the mouth was blocked with a damp washcloth.
Since viruses are transmitted from person-to-person via respiratory droplets, it makes sense to say that if we could block the production of droplets, we can reduce the transmission of the disease, and ultimately, flatten the curve.
Most face masks are NIOSH certified as well.
Do masks protect the people wearing them or those around them?
Masks can be best described as “Source control”. The reason being that they prevent larger respiratory droplets from evaporating into smaller droplets that could travel faster.
In other words, the best benefit is that people who have COVID-19 can prevent transferring it to other people. However, this doesn’t mean you would not benefit from wearing them if you don’t have COVID-19.
Also, it is noteworthy that you could catch the virus through the membrane of your eyes- a rare factor that masking doesn’t eliminate.
I hope it is crystal-clear that the purpose of wearing a mask isn’t just for your safety- but also those around you, including your family and kids. Wearing a mask, is in effect, service to humanity.