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To Mask or Not To Mask

30th May 2020

face mask is a protective item that goes over the mouth and nose. There are different types of face masks. Some of them include surgical masks, which are do not provide too much respiratory protection and N95 masks which are more tight-fitting and provide respiratory protection. Regardless of the mask type, the wearer must always make sure to dispose of it after use.

Testing of face masks started in the beginning of the 1900's which increased its use thereafter. Lately, because of COVID-19's arrival there has been an increase in the use of face masksPeople wear face masks to protect the respiratory tract from pollution and infection, and to avoid the spread of any pathogens they might have. But does wearing a face mask help? It's been shown that by saying a simple sentence such as "stay healthy" thousands of droplets are spread into the air. Similarly, when one coughs an even larger amount of droplets are expelled. These droplets stick on the other person and/or in surrounding areas. If the droplets are breathed in by the other person then that is when infection can begin. Face masks work by considerably reducing the spread of infection.

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However, wearing a face mask does not make a person invulnerable. Masks are usually loose leaving spots for the droplets to navigate through. Particles can stay on any surface and/or cloth and for that reason it is possible than when taking off the mask you can still come in contact with the virus. Not only that but the particles can stay in your hands facilitating the spread of a virus regardless of the face mask. Also, depending on the type of face mask you might not protection against certain particles. While face masks can help reduce infection, they do not make a person invulnerable.

So is it a good idea to wear a mask? Yes. Especially if you do not want to infect other people. Some viruses such as the coronavirus can be asymptomatic and so it is important to wear a face mask not only to protect yourself but to protect others around you in case you are the one carrying it. While the spread of droplets can happen regardless, wearing a mask can help reduce this spread significantly. Most importantly, one must use other preventive methods as well as wearing face masks. These include washing hands, avoid placing hands near the face, using hand sanitizer and cleaning surfaces that might be touched later on.