In these distressing times of the COVID-19 pandemic, our lives have changed completely. New ways of life and habits have become part of the lives of people day in and day out, like regular use of sanitizer, wearing a mask like a second skin, and maintaining social distancing.
Wearing a mask is the most important preventive and safety measure of life under the COVID-19 pandemic. Mask has now become the most essential part of the daily essentials of a person.
But this has given rise to a new problem altogether which needs to be addressed now before this causes a new crisis.
The safe disposal of mask
Yes, this is one of the most disturbing problems coming up now.
We as a responsible citizen and we need to realize that proper knowledge of mask usage and disposal is crucial and should be loudly advertised.
Why should we use a mask?
Let’s see which are the common masks generally used
Cloth mask- Most commonly used by people. They are comparatively less effective because of the lack of proper filtration layering to block germs to enter the nose and mouth. Although, it is preferred more because of its easy availability, affordability, and comfort. It is always better to use at least a cloth mask them not using one at all.
- People caring for any COVID-19 patients should never use a cloth mask
- People who work in a crowded place or travel should also avoid a cloth mask.
Layered Surgical Mask- A surgical mask is very effective and disposable. It is a polypropylene mask and can block air particles to a very large extent. It is a loose-fitting mask so the chance of particles from a nearby sneezing or coughing person entering your mouth is high.
- Not be used by a person caring for COVID patients or working in a hospital or any frontline service.
- Not be used by a person in contact with sick people.
N95 respirator- Extremely effective and advanced mask. It is not for the regular use of general people. It is made of polypropylene material with a high filtration factor which blocks the smallest of (0.3) of particles. These masks can block out most bacteria and viruses and are of surgical grade. Although, the use of N95 respirator should be judicial.
- Medical and healthcare workers should use this mask. Especially those workers who are in primary care of patients with respiratory infections, colds and coughs.
- Someone working in the vicinity of a COVID health facility or around suspected COVID patients should use this mask.
- Someone working in the medical sampling department or potentially contaminate the environment.
How to dispose of a mask?
One important thing people often forget is that mask is medical waste. A used mask is a house of germs and bacteria and if let exposed can transmit bacteria to its surroundings.
So do not leave your used mask exposed and throw it anywhere in open. Always wash your hands after removing the mask and dispose of the mask in a closed dustbin only.
Also do not reuse a used mask in any condition without washing. Do not use the same mask for a long duration of the mask.
Cloth mask can be reused only after washing it thoroughly with a disinfectant.
Surgical masks should be disposed of after wrapping it in a roll and tied with its string and then put in a polythene bag immediately to dispose of in a dustbin.
N95 mask should be removed only with strings and should be kept in a paper bag between use.