The empirical question here is whether wearing masks actually helps. Ever since day 1 when the world sat up to the increasing number of COVID cases in Italy and felt the formidable fear that something indeed was very very wrong with the situation, there was a clamour for masks.
But really, can the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 be stopped by wearing these masks? The overwhelming response is that wearing face masks and combining it with other preventive measures, like washing your hands frequently and properly does help slow down the spreading of the virus.
Actually, people spread the virus unknowingly. Even though someone may be asymptomatic, yet they could be potential carriers. What masks give us is a layer of protection from any virus that we could be infected with from the mucous splash of another person. This is why social distancing also helps.
Scientists did not have tangible proof that wearing masks was a good way of keeping away virus. But a study by NCBI in 2013, examined if masks were effective for people with the seasonal flu spreading it through small droplets of virus. The study successfully concluded that masks prevented three times the spread. Another study by NCBI that analyzed data from thousands of Japanese school children found that wearing masks helped reduce the spread of seasonal flu.
Face Shields also help in a similar manner. The PET sheet that is used in Face Shields offers complete protection for the eyes too. The disposable face masks are made of center layer of melt-blown filtration, that helps prevent pollen, dust, bacteria and virus.
How to wear a mask
- The mask needs to cover your mouth and nose
- It should be tightly secured with the help of the ear loops
- It should not be touched when sporting it
- Hands should be sanitized if accidentally touched
- Masks should be removed without touching the front
- Hands should be immediately washed after removing the mask
- All reusable washable masks be washed regularly with soap and water
Where to Use a Face Mask
Masks should be worn in public and especially where it is difficult to maintain social distancing. This is relevant to places such as grocery stores where there is a grave danger of community transmission.
Face mask precautions
- Not be used by people with breathing difficulties
- Not to be used on children under 2 years of age
- Not to be used as an alternative for social distancing