Up until the Covid breakout in 2019, some people didn’t really know how useful masks are or never felt like they had need to use masks, it was probably just a thing for the doctors and other health workers.
Well unfortunately, there are other critical reasons to wear masks often, besides the current pandemic – that is still raving in some parts of the world.
In this article we are going to discuss masks, types and essential reasons beside the pandemic; to wear your masks.
What are masks? And types
My bet is you already know we are not talking about masks we see in horror movies or masquerade balls lol.
The masks required here are face/nose masks; these are usually small masks that are design to fit over or cover our nose through below our chin, with straps that rest behind our ears.
The common types; Surgical masks, Simple cloth masks, N95, there is a trending mask that only covers the nose-so people can eat and drink, there some other special masks used in Industrial settings, etc.
- Industrial Mask
- Nose-only Mask
Functions of Masks
The function basically is to prevent infectious or other harmful micro particles from entering your body through your nose or mouth, and also to prevent infectious droplets from going airborne.
Doctors/ health workers wear these to protect themselves and their patients, because of how sensitive their work environment is, some situations require sterile environment, an example is surgery.
Since the start of Covid, it became a requirement in public spaces to prevent and control the spread of the virus. This is quite relaxed now in many countries but some still choose to wear them in public.
Other Conditions That Require us to Mask up;
- Work Safety;
A lot of working conditions require workers to be masked and a lot of workers fail to comply with this, also some companies fail to enforce the use or provide this as an essential. In a construction site whether as a worker or visitor it should be handy, but the nature of work going on determines the kind of masks required.
In the construction work environment, face mask is essential when handling cement work, concrete work, and any work that produces dust-like particles. Exposure to cement dust overtime causes severe medical conditions.
We have already mentioned doctors, in addition the lab technicians and scientists, they have need to be masked too as they are constantly exposed to likely infected body fluids and they can’t also risk contaminating test samples that are to be cultured.
- Environmental Conditions;
This is the inspiration of this entire article, in some parts of the globe there are serious environmental challenges that pose serious threat to the health of the people around, an instance is the micro (fine) dust pollution in Korea, China and Mongolia, with the last being quite a critical pollution crisis. Reports have it that the air in Mongolia has very high particulate matter.
Even your quite common dusty roads and areas, have high particulate matter, and wearing your mask reduces your exposure to these elements and can prevent illness.
Last element on my list of particles for today; is Soot. What is Soot? According to Oxford languages dictionary, this is a deep black powdery or flaky substance consisting largely of amorphous carbon, produced by the incomplete burning of organic matter.
If you live in the city of Port-Harcourt, a city in southern Nigeria that is popular for its oil refining activities. You will notice the presence of soot almost immediately, it settles on clothes left outside, if the windows are home… there will be soot all over your furniture and home. Then imagine the impact on your lungs, it is already known to cause bronchitis, it aggravates asthmatic conditions, it can also cause heart attack just to mention a few. It is advisable to wear masks when you are outdoors to prevent prolonged daily exposure to this harmful pollutant.
- Other Medical Conditions;
This is a pretty simple reason, knowing where and when is crucial in preventing spread of disease and medical crisis. Where? Simply any area with high level of air pollution. When? As often as possible, the key is to prevent exposure or prolonged exposure to harmful particles.
Other flu-like conditions besides Covid, other Flus are still reasons to wear mask because you can try to not spread it to others that way.
If you have a breathing-related illness, then occasional use of masks when the need arises will prevent exposure to airborne pollutants that can aggravate your condition.
- Buy quality masks.
- Wear your masks properly.
- Dispose used masks properly.
- Handling gases requires a different kind of masks (there are special masks for this).
- Wash your reusable cloth masks often.
- Discuss with your healthcare provider, the triggers if you have a breathing-related illness.
- Carry a mask on you always.
- Be compliant, if you enter premises that masks are a prerequisite for entry or staying.
- Educate yourself on air pollution and ways you can avoid being a contributor to harming the environment and your neighbors.