Underrated importance of Masks and Gloves- Accessories you must have: The term ‘Airborne transmission’ refers to the possibility of transmission of novel coronavirus through tiny particles that float around in the air for hours after an infected person has spoken, coughed, sneezed, or even breathed in a place.
This has made it even more critical to follow safety guidelines — especially indoors – with the stringent use of masks in all settings and physical distancing.
Dr. Aastha Sharma talked to us about how masks offer dual protection by protecting you from possible infection and preventing you from infecting others.
She emphasizes that when you are outdoors, you must wear a mask, especially if you are going to be close to others for a long time period. When you’re with your own family at home and you are sure they are following all safety guidelines, masks are not necessary. But it is best to wear masks in other indoor spaces.
Researchers have shown that if 70% of people wore a mask outdoors in New York, the pandemic could be completely eliminated from the city. The same is possible for the entire US, if at least 80% of the population regularly used masks.
Physical distancing, and wearing a mask and gloves, are your only safety nets since mass vaccination is still not in sight. Meanwhile, we need to start getting used to this new face accessory right away.
But the use of masks must not lead you into a false sense of security. If you or others around you stop wearing masks, and ignore safety guidelines, you are highly likely to be infected. It could also lead to increased community transmission and a “second wave” of the disease.
To ensure you are using the mask right –
- Wear the mask properly, with a tight fit, and for the entire time you are out
- Follow all other safety guidelines too including proper hand washing, physical distancing, wearing gloves, sanitizing surfaces, testing the suspected, and quarantining the infected
The story of gloves is different from the masks. With gloves, cross-contamination is quite likely if you don’t use them the way they are meant to be used.
Gloves alone can’t protect you if you’re touching your face or not washing your hands every time you touch something. In fact, gloves may make you feel safe when you are not. People may think that they’re protected, and then touch their face with gloves they have worn everywhere.
Contaminated gloves are as bad, if not more, than bare hands. The likelihood of contamination increases when you’re wearing gloves because anything you touch with your gloved hands — your phone or purse — is also contaminated. Avoid touching your face, touching your mask or doing anything else that you wouldn’t do with bare hands.
The cross-contamination is even more likely when you’re putting on and taking off gloves.
Take off your gloves from the inside out to avoid contamination. Don’t reuse gloves.
If you are wearing gloves in public places, like stores, calm your nerves, go ahead and slide a pair on. Remember that you can only use your gloves once and you need to properly take them off and immediately dispose of them. Don’t touch your face with them, and wash your hands after taking them off.
Pay attention to mental health
Don’t forget that mental health is as important as physical health. In addition to the safety guidelines that you need to follow to keep the disease at bay, it is important to take care of your mental health during this time. Psychologist and therapist, Mamta Sharma shared, “An invisible pandemic is brewing underneath the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people are complaining of added stress and overwhelming anxiety during the pandemic. Such prolonged stress and anxiety may send us into a mental health pandemic even after the current one is over.”
It is important to take good care of your mental health and seek professional help if stress and anxiety, or any other mental or emotional challenges, are preventing you from going on about your day normally.
Know More About the Author
Dr Aastha Sharma is an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon and Fashion enthusiast. Her official Instagram handle is Aazthasharma.