Should I wear a face mask to protect myself against coronavirus?
A photo of a taxi driver wearing a face mask began doing rounds on social media on Thursday morning.
His passengers who seem to be of Chinese origin are however not wearing masks which begs the question:
Should I wear a mask to protect myself against coronavirus?
According to the Guardian newspaper, many people in Europe and the U.S. have also begun wearing surgical masks to protect themselves against coronavirus.
“Though face masks may provide the feeling of security, masks are most valuable in situations where they are necessary – such as among frontline health workers,” the report reads.
It further reveals a risk of depletion of masks worldwide because of stockpiling.
A report from the University of California San Francisco also avers that: “Masks are only recommended for caregivers of patients with communicable illnesses and patients with a fever or cough.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it “does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.”
“Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others,” the CDC’s website says.
And according to the Workd Health Organization (WHO), masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
Below are WHO guidelines on how to use a mask to prevent spread of coronavirus:
- Before putting on a mask, clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
- Cover mouth and nose with mask and make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask.
- Avoid touching the mask while using it; if you do, clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
- Replace the mask with a new one as soon as it is damp and do not re-use single-use masks.
- To remove the mask: remove it from behind (do not touch the front of mask); discard immediately in a closed bin; clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
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