Anti COVID-19: Essentials of a Cloth Face Mask
With the markets brimming with varieties of masks, it is essential to understand that not all of them provide protection against coronavirus. Cloth masks, available in attractive prints and fabrics, are quite favourite amongst people. Have a look at how to choose and handle these most effectively.
With the coronavirus spread showing no signs of declining, one thing is for sure- Masks are here to stay for long. No wonder, people have started opting for the more breathable and comfortable face masks made of cloth. These are also finding a preference amongst people owing to their reusability and environment friendliness.
WHO has laid down several guidelines about the kind of masks one should opt for and the number of layers cloth masks should have to make them effective against the novel coronavirus.
Every non-medical mask should have at least three layers, with the innermost one being in contact with the wearer, the middle layer acting as a filter and the outer layer having environment exposure. “Those layers in that order can provide a mechanistic barrier,” said Maria D. Van Kerkhove, the WHO technical lead on the COVID-19.
How to choose the best fabric for a face mask
Face masks act as a barrier in public places to protect you and others from infection. When looking to buy the best cloth fabric mask for yourself, make sure of the below points:
- The mask should have at least three layers. The outer layer ought to be water-resistant, the middle layer is a filter, whereas the inner layer should be made of a water-absorbent material.
- According to Alice Simniceanu, WHO Infection Prevention Specialist, the innermost layer should ideally be made of a hydrophilic material like cotton.
- The middle layer “should ideally be a strip of polypropylene fabric, which is a spun-bond non-woven fabric material,” says Alice.
- She further explains that the outermost layer “can be made up of synthetic material like polyester or polyester and cotton blend.”
Guidelines about handling fabric masks
Thoroughly clean your hands, with soap and water for 60 seconds or alcohol-based hand rub for 20-30 seconds, before wearing a mask. Inspect your mask properly and wear it to cover your nose, mouth and chin adequately. Ensure that the mask fits your face without leaving any gaps. Make sure not to touch your mask when you are wearing it and if you accidentally do, sanitize your hands again.
Before taking off a fabric face mask, clean your hands again with soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitizer. Remove the mask by slightly leaning forward and releasing the elastic loops from behind your ears, without touching the front part. Rewash your hands after removing the mask.
Choosing an appropriate face mask and correct handling of it can ensure that you keep yourself and others from harm’s way. Wear face masks at all times, wash your hands repeatedly and maintain social distancing for complete health and safety of everyone around you.