6 months into the COVID-19 pandemic and the closest to any cure we have come is to use Face Mask and maintain a proper heath hygiene. Yet, I see people walking around with no mask in crowded places. It’s not just in Bangladesh, it’s a common scenario all over the world. Maybe a little too much in some part of the world. Somehow these people seem to be very adamant that the virus won’t catch them or it’s not worth wearing a musk even if it was to save your life and potentially other people’s too.

So, this is me asking you again, I’m sure hundreds of people also did before me, to please wear a mask while you are out in public. Don’t take this virus for granted. Please wear a mask until a vaccine comes out. It’s for your own safety, your family’s safety and for us too.


Why Face Mask is Important

If you are reading this, I assume, you already have a pretty good idea why face masks are necessary. So, I won’t give you the technical details here. Instead I’ll give you some facts about how wearing a mask prevents the virus from spreading.

One of the main ways the virus spreads is via the transmission of droplets from an affected individual. So, it’s common sense that if we could block these droplets from entering individuals who are not affected, we could potentially stop the spread of the virus.

The easiest way these droplets enters one’s body is usually through the face, to be specific, through mouth and nose. Studies have found that nearly all these droplets were blocked when a damp washcloth is used to cover up the mouth [DOI: 10.1056/NEJMc2007800].

Another study published in Health Affairs [DOI: 10.1377/hlthaff.2020.00818] provides evidence that the growth rate of COVID-19 declined when mandating face mask use in public within different states of the U.S.

There are other studies showing evidence that wearing masks is an absolute necessity to prevent this virus from spreading.


When and How to Use Mask

Isn’t it obvious when to wear mask! In case you were living under a rock, which by the way seems a better place in this mess, I’ll put it out clearly when to wear a mask and how.

Wherever you are, if it includes people who you are not sure of if they have the virus, you’ve got to wear masks. If you don’t know who has the virus, you have to assume everybody has it and act on that. It includes friends and family as well.

According to the guidelines provided by WHO (World Health Organization), as of August 28, 2020, you should maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between others and yourself. You should avoid going to crowded places too. You need to wear a mask, should you be unable to maintain these guidelines.

Now if you are all motivated to wear masks, GOOD JOB, you are already helping yourself and us. But there are still a few things I’d like to make sure you follow when wearing a mask. If you are going to wear a mask, do it properly. I see so many people doing it wrong.

According to WHO, you should sanitize your hands first. Then carefully pick up the mask by the straps, do not touch the actual body of the mask. Check if it is damaged or dirty. If it’s okay, then put it on your face covering your mouth, nose and chin. Adjust the mask to your face, so that there’s no gaps on the sides. Remember not to touch the inside surface of the mask while putting it on or taking it off or ever and never leave it exposed out in the open. Also, avoid touching it while wearing it. You should also sanitize your hands prior to removing it. If you are not sure about sanitizer, go here. Do not touch the front side of the mask while removing it, instead use the straps on the sides and carefully pull it away from your face.

If the mask gets wet or dirty while wearing, change it immediately and do not share masks with anyone. If you are using a re-useable fabric mask, wash it daily with hot water using soap or laundry detergent and store it in a clean re-sealable bag.

A fabric mask should have three layers. The inner layer that will be in direct contact with your face should be a hydrophilic material so that it can absorb the droplets. You can find this material in a woven or knit cotton t-shirt. Be sure to select a light color such as white so that you can know when it’s wet or soiled. The middle layer is a polypropylene fabric which should act like a filter. It is spun bond non-woven fabric material. The outer layer should be a hydrophobic fabric that will repel droplets and moisture. It can be a polyester or a blend of polyester and cotton made of synthetic material. [Source: WHO Guidelines, August 28, 2020]  


What Mask Should You Use for COVID-19

Now, this is a question that’s been dividing opinions right throughout this pandemic. However, it seems to have cooled down a bit recently. According to latest WHO guidelines, there are only two kinds of masks you should be looking at to prevent COVID-19.

WHO says you can wear either a medical mask, also known as surgical mask, or a fabric mask (non-medical mask). However, they give specific guidelines when to use what.

They say fabric masks should be worn by people who don’t have COVID-19 symptoms. Medical masks, however, should be worn by people who have COVID-19 symptoms, health workers, people who take of someone who’s already been affected.

They further say in an area where the virus is widespread, people of age 60 or over, people with underlying health conditions should wear a medical mask.

There you have it. Now you should have a clear idea what mask to wear and if you noticed there is no mention of any N95 masks and other masks with valves. That is because there’s been some recent suggestions from health experts that masks with valves should not be worn. Because these masks typically have one-way valves and they can allow droplets to escape while breathing out.

So, you are better off with a medical or a fabric mask. For my understanding, although I am not a health expert, I think 3-layer surgical masks provide better protection. But keep in mind, surgical masks are for one-time use only. Never re-use them.


Best Place to Buy Mask

Thank you so much. You are finally ready to buy masks to wear them. So, where do you find them? It’s a bit stupid of me to ask actually, we all know where to buy them. But you know what, I know the best place to buy them and it’s not your local drug store.

The best place to buy masks is online. Don’t just get mad at me yet, hear me out. This is a time where the more you go out, the more there’s a chance of getting the virus. So why take the risk, if you can do it from home. It’s not just for buying mask, you can and should probably buy your everyday essentials online too. Because it reduces the times you go out and potentially prevents you from coming to close contact with someone who might be carrying the virus.

Here you can find a whole different selection of masks. Buy the one that suits you most. You can also find other medical supplies and a variety of products from groceries to beauty products here on Hateemtai.

I hope this article helps you understand the sheer importance of wearing masks and hope you won’t be making the mistake of not wearing masks again when necessary, especially when going out. We pray to God that we get a vaccine really soon. But until that happens, we can’t be careful enough. While wearing masks is one of the most important measures we can take, but wearing masks alone will not prevent the spread. We have to follow all the necessary health hygiene from using sanitizer to avoid going into crowded places to stop this spread. You can find more information regarding this on the WHO website.

Please, be careful. Wear masks, save yourself and save us too.