As the COVID restrictions finally ease and the mandatory use of face masks no longer applies, it’s a good time to look back on why it was so important to use a mask to help stop the spread of contagious diseases.
What did the experts say?
Almost every medical resource recommends that people wear a face covering or mask when out and about in the community. This simple public health measure significantly reduced the spread of COVID-19, especially when combined with other measures, such as social or physical distancing, frequent handwashing, and other preventive actions.
But face masks are not just good at preventing the spread of COVID 19. With the increase in public health measures, Australia has seen the lowest flu numbers over the last two years, showing how great face masks and face shields are at spreading infections and disease.
Different types of masks
If you’re thinking about still wearing a mask to protect yourself against other infections, there are three main types to consider.
Cloth face masks
Cloth face coverings or masks can be shop-bought or homemade. Make sure they fit snugly against your face. The mask should cover your nose and mouth. Secure them with ear loops. Wash them every day, and avoid touching your nose, mouth, and eyes when you take them off. Cloth face masks aren’t suitable for children under two years old, people who have trouble breathing, and people unable to remove their masks.
Surgical face masks
Surgical face masks are disposable masks approved as medical devices. Most medical practitioners (doctors, dentists, nurses) wear them while treating patients. Surgical face masks are the ultimate in preventing the spread of bacteria and illnesses.
Guidelines for wearing face masks
- If you’re within 6 feet of a person who is ill, wear a mask.
- Use ear loops to keep the mask in place.
- Do not touch the mask until you remove it.
- Wear a face mask before going near other people if you feel sick.
- When you’ve finished with your Medicom surgicalor respirator face mask, throw it away; never reuse it.
- Wash your cloth face mask after each use.
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