In case some of you think that masks are unnecessary or that they don’t work to prevent the novel coronavirus (Covid-19), then take time to read this. Wearing face masks (surgical masks, cloth masks, tie dye masks, or N95 masks), together with other preventive measures such as handwashing and physical distancing, can help mitigate the effect of the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised that everyone over two years of age wear a mask in public spaces. But there has been a lot of debate over wearing masks and a lot of misinformation has been spread online. Let’s try to look into the facts and correct some of the most common misconceptions about wearing masks.
Myth #1: Masks Don’t Protect People from the Virus
After months of misinformation and people saying that masks don’t work to protect people from Covid-19, the tide has shifted. A study by researchers from the University of Maryland and the Hong Kong University discovered that wearing masks (cloth masks, tie dye masks, or surgical masks) decreased the rate at which the virus was transmitted through respiratory droplets or airborne particles by 50% to 75%. Another study done on residents in Hong Kong revealed that wearing masks significantly helped in preventing the spread of the disease.
Myth #2: Masks Cause Carbon Dioxide to Accumulate and Can Make You Sick
The medical term for breathing in CO2 is called Hypercapnia. Mild symptoms include lightheadedness, fatigue, headache, dizziness, shortness of breath, and disorientation. According to a representative from the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “The level of carbon dioxide likely to build up in the mask is mostly tolerable to people who are exposed to it.” The point is that a lot of people are only using face masks for an hour or two—with the exemption of healthcare workers. Using a mask for an hour or two will not cause anyone to suffer from hypercapnia, but they could get a mild headache at least.
Myth #3: You Don’t Need to Cover Your Nose with a Mask
Most people tend to wear masks only covering their mouths as they believe covering the nose is unnecessary. But this is wrong. Covid-19 attaches itself to receptors in the nose, which is basically the gateway to the body. Scientists discovered that certain cells in the nose have high levels of the proteins that is used by the virus to get into our cells. If you don’t cover your nose with a face mask, you not only endanger yourself, but you become a threat to other people when you sneeze by releasing droplets into the air and infecting others.
Myth #4: Masks only Help If I am Coughing
There are people who may have Covid-19 but don’t show symptoms. We call these people, asymptomatic. They do not cough or sneeze, but they talk, and when they talk, they release small respiratory particles in the air, which can infect other people. A study suggests that these small particles can also remain in the air for a period of time. Therefore, covering your mouth and nose with a mask can contain such particles and keep them from spreading.
Myth #5: Cloth Masks and Surgical Masks are Just as Effective as N95 Masks.
N95 masks are proven to provide more protection compared to surgical masks and cloth masks because they are able to filter out both large and small particles. Surgical masks and cloth tie dye masks can prevent people from breathing in larger droplets, but not tiny ones. Although Covid-19 virus is tiny and could pass through cloth or surgical masks, the good news is that it can be expelled in larger droplets that cloth masks can catch.
Myth #6: Disposable Masks Must be Thrown Out After One Use
If you’ve gone on a quick errand to buy groceries wearing a disposable mask, don’t throw it out just yet when you get home. Rather, let it sit for the next 10-14 days and the virus (if it’s present) will just simply die away. Researchers explained that the coronavirus tends to die out after 10 days or so. Those who work in high-risk settings (such as doctors and nurses) who are exposed to large amounts of the virus don’t have to reuse their mask.
Tie Dye Masks: Keeping Your Self Safe and Fashionable
Now that we have cleared up some of the common misconceptions about face masks, I guess we can all agree that we’re going to be wearing them for quite a while. For this reason, it is important to find one that you like and are comfortable with. The CDC has been vigilant in recommending people to wear masks when going out in public.
In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an order for everyone to wear masks in public places where it is impossible to impose social distancing measures. Similar orders have been issued in other parts of the US and around the world. That said, wearing a face mask as a civilian is not only common sense, but it is also a responsibility as well. Given the prevalence of face masks, it’s likely that they will start to become a fashion accessory, apart from being a form of protection against diseases.
The most comfortable face masks for civilians to wear are those made of cloth, but it should come with a filter pocket. Surgical masks and N95 masks should be reserved for healthcare and medical professionals and essential workers. Many big names in the fashion world have also started releasing fashionable face masks. But as the ordinary individual is unable to afford these, there are cheaper yet fashionable options—tie dye masks!
Tie dye fashion is all the rage nowadays and what better way to jump in on the trend than to get your own tie dye mask? Tie dye masks are made of cloth and some of them even come with a filter pocket inside. They don’t only come in one style or color, but they can also be in pastel or bright color hues! They’re a fun and fashionable way to keep yourself safe during these trying times.