By Dr. Hirenappa Udnur, Consultant-Pulmonology, Columbia Asia Hospital Hebbal
It is always said that taking a precaution is always better than finding a solution for a problem caused. People take so many safety measures across the world in different ways, to keep their life secure. And the extent of this has no borders, there are life insurances to sunscreen lotions to keep a person safe from all the harm, that can be caused from our surroundings.
Now, we live in such a condition that from the food to the air we consume, every object around us is either toxicated or in other words harmful for our body in some form. But, we humans have found alternatives to keep ourselves healthy, and we also try to adapt ourselves with changing times around us. The best example for this can be how humans have left milestones in the field of medicine and the way it benefitted mankind. Adding to this, man-kind one can also say that we are fighting the biggest health catastrophe the world has ever witnessed, Covid-19 a pandemic disease that is claiming millions of lives.
The pandemic and the quarantine, has ceased our daily routines and the comfortability of breathing. We are being advised to take preventive measures like washing our hands, to use masks, to not sneeze in public constantly so that the situation can be controlled. But what is the science behind the use of a mask or how can covering your mouth or nose prevent from spreading a deadly disease? Well, the fact is face mask or a mouthpiece is not only to put Covid 19 at bay, along with this a mask can bring effective changes in one’s health.
Face masks are protective equipment that is used to protect the wearer from airborne particles that contaminate the face. Like dust particles and cough droplets. As per many studies, a mask not only controls the spread of diseases like Covid-19 or Swine. But it was also proven effective to prevent oneself from getting infected with seasonal flu.
Masks can also help one in preventing:
- Non- epidemic upper and lower respiratory infections like influenza
- Epidemic and Pandemic respiratory infections like Covid-19, SARS, MERS
- Lung cancer
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases
- Reduced lung function
- Pollution and its particles entering into the body
By using a face mask, one can follow the below listed precautions
- The person should maintain a proximity of 6 feet from you
- Position your mask properly
- Do not wear an unfit mask in crowded areas
- Dispose the used masks properly, in closed bins
- Do not touch the frontier part of the mask
- Avoid wiping your face without washing hands
People opt for face masks based on the availability and comfort. And there are different types of masks that one can use too. And those are
- N95 respirator, which is designed to protect the wearer from minute particles that are present in the air. It is recommended for health care workers (doctors, nurses, paramedic staff) who come in constant contact with the patients and patients with Covid-19
- Other than this, one can also use surgical face masks and cloth face coverings, while surgical masks are commonly used by the doctors. These are loosely fitted and prevent huge cough droplets from escaping from our body. Cloth face coverings, can be used in huge public areas, where maintaining distance can be difficult. These should be used by individuals at home and public places.
When it comes to the question of our health, prevention is always better than a cure. Stay safe, use a mask. Protect yourself and your lungs.