With the Indian government relaxing lockdown rules and regulations, a sense of normalcy seems to be limping back to life; yet the constant upsurge in COVID-19 cases is still a reason for worry.
In the last couple of months, official authorities have allowed the functioning of restaurants, malls, theatres, gyms and religious places, as well as restored public transport. Though many of us are still working from home, with children attending classes online, certain business establishments big and small are now fully operational across the country, making travel inevitable.
However, all the awareness and caution with regards to fighting the deadly coronavirus infection seems to have lost its core purpose, as many individuals are seen in public places nowadays without masks, ignoring the importance of social distancing, handwashing, hand sanitizing and other safety measures.
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Wearing a mask is always the first line of defence in combating infection stemming from the novel strain of coronavirus - SARS-CoV-2. Moreover, this highly contagious illness can cause acute and severe respiratory distress, by weakening the lungs, triggering high fever, with cough, cold, loss of smell, taste and several other complications. Coronavirus disease has so far claimed more than 1 lakh lives in our country and resulted in over 10 lakh deaths globally.
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Doctors, paramedics and scientists across the globe are fighting tooth and nail in restricting the spread of the virus. But unfortunately, COVID-19 positive cases continue to be on the rise and a preventive vaccine still seems to be a distant dream.
Every responsible citizen of this country should ensure wearing a mask to shield themselves and also to contain the spread of this lethal infection. Remember, even a little amount of negligence on our part can take all these months of battle to nought, triggering not only more rampant infection, but also the loss of life.
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Nevertheless, if you are still wondering how face masks can actually help curb disease transmission, here are all the answers to some of the most common questions doing the rounds currently.
Can Masks Protect The People Wearing Them And Others Around?
Well, yes. Face masks control spreading of the virus to a large extent, as they act as a barrier, preventing respiratory droplets from travelling across in air. These droplets that get expelled into the air while talking, sneezing, coughing can spread to the person standing in close proximity (i.e less than 6 feet). Hence masks are strongly recommended for those travelling outside, be it in a car, two-wheeler or public transport and even while working in the office.
Do All Masks Prevent The Spread Of Infection?
There are different types of masks – from disposable variants, cloth masks to N95. Disposable masks are more comfortable, lighter and have to be thrown away after every single use. Cloth masks are reusable but ensure proper washing, drying under the sun before using again. N95 respirators are recommended in a hospital set up for medical professionals. However, if you are visiting a hospital or attending to a coronavirus patient, then N95 masks are the best bet, as they ensure very minimal seepage of droplets when air passes through the mask's filters.
Should You Wear A Mask Even While Maintaining Social Distancing?
Yes. Despite awareness, many people around us are not wearing face masks and ignoring the importance of regular hand sanitization. According to research studies, wearing masks even while practising the 6 feet distance rules, can bring down the risk of infection by 80 per cent and largely prevent community transmission. It is in fact, much more effective than a complete lockdown.
I Am Not COVID-19 Positive. Why Should I Wear A Face Mask?
Researchers suggest that many of us could be coronavirus positive and still be asymptomatic. Do remember that this novel strain of the coronavirus is manifesting in different ways and the stages of severity can vary from person to person. While doctors believe that patients suffering from co-morbid conditions are at major risk, there are many instances which prove that people in their 20s and 30s too are prone to acquiring COVID-19, that could even end up being fatal. Thus, even if you are COVID-19 negative, ensure wearing a mask for your own safety and others around you.
Should I Wear Face Masks All The Time?
You can stay mask-free in your house, but it is strongly recommended to wear it outside. People with breathing difficulties should avoid visiting public places. Also do not wear it while running, cycling, exercising and brisk walking, as it can cause immediate breathing difficulties. However, ensure ample physical distance if you are working out in a gym or going out for a walk with friends.