Mask mandates are still in effect. People in public places are aware of wearing masks in public. This is to help decelerate transmission. However, not all masks are equal. The only masks that people can trust greatly are the surgical mask and the N95 mask.
The N95 mask is by far the most efficient mask in terms of filtration. It filters particles up to 95%. The surgical mask, on the other hand, is the most used mask. Although the surgical mask is not as effective as the N95 mask, it has comfort and convenience. It still can protect anyone who wears it.
With the harsh lockdowns, some people cannot afford to buy themselves a suitable face mask. Due to a lack of income, some of these people even scramble as to where they will get their next meal. Since masks have become a staple in most households, these people cannot risk their lives just to get out.
What to do if you need a mask?
There are plenty of ways to do it if you are in need of a mask. These ways can help you to enjoy doing necessary things outside without the fear of contamination.
The best way to do it is to stay at home. Going outside without a mask on, you are exposing yourself to grave danger. Masks are necessary to protect points of entry; namely, the nose and the mouth. If you do not have any mask available, staying at home is the best contribution. No interaction from the outside means no viral transmission happening.
Another way is through asking from your local government. Most likely, local governments provide their constituents with free masks like surgical masks. The good thing is, the masks are for free. Aside from local governments, there are generous individuals and charities that give protective masks for free. Most of these charities tie-up with the local government in providing free face masks to everyone.
Creating your own masks is also a plausible gesture. There are tons of videos on YouTube that will allow you to create your own DIY face mask. Though these DIY face masks are not as efficient as surgical masks and N95 masks, these masks will keep you protected whenever you are outside. All you need is a cloth, a pair of scissors, a needle, a thread, and a wholesome video teaching you how to create a DIY mask.
The last thing you can do is to buy yourself a mask. There are plenty of stores that sell protective masks like the N95 mask and the surgical mask. With strict lockdown measures, there are online platforms that sell these masks. These online platforms sell cloth masks as well as the most trusted masks; the N95 mask and the surgical mask.
Can a face shield be an alternative to face masks?
No. A face shield will never be an alternative to face masks. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend face shields over masks. A face shield can be effective as a second barrier. Although a face shield can be cleaned through disinfection, the potency of protection against coronavirus is not at par with masks. Moreover, the effectiveness of face shields as a barrier against coronavirus is under study. Meaning, it is not proven effective and it needs more proof. This is why a face shield can be used if a face mask like a surgical mask or an N95 mask is worn underneath.
Could borrowing face masks from friends possible?
Yes, it is possible but it can open a door for potential contamination. A face mask like a surgical mask or N95 mask is already used and borrowing them can be fatal. Spraying disinfectant spray to N95 masks is possible but not on the surgical mask. Washing the N95 mask can disintegrate the fibers of the mask and may affect its filtration capacity. Asking for a face mask would be better than borrowing.
If you have gotten yourself a mask, what should you do?
Getting a mask is a great news. The next thing is to use it when necessary. If you have gotten yourself a mask, it does not give you a license to go out frequently. The virus is still out. Using the mask when necessary is the best thing you can do. If the masks were used, there are ways to preserve them.
If you have gotten a cloth mask, wash it after using it. The chemicals from the soap can kill the particles present on the surface of your mask. After washing your cloth mask, air dry it. If you have a surgical mask, you have to dispose of it right away. Reusing a used surgical mask is dangerous. Washing the used surgical mask can destroy the mask.
For an N95 mask, you can decontaminate your masks through spraying disinfectant spray or through dry heat. The disinfectant spray can eliminate 99.9% of bacteria on the surface. Using dry heat on the other hand can eliminate all particles present at high temperatures, higher than the boiling point.
In these trying times, innovation is the key. People should look into ways as to how they are going to get themselves a protective mask. There are tons of ways in fact. Going out with a mask is always better than going out alone. In this way, people can contribute to decelerating viral transmission and potentially help in saving more lives.