It's no secret that wearing a mask before leaving our homes has been made mandatory by health officials and the government, or so it seems. The thing is that there are still an alarming number of Malaysians who refuse to mask up whenever they're outside. Worse still, there are those who carry out physical activities without wearing a mask and those who loiter around with friends despite the high risk of receiving a hefty fine or worse, contracting Covid-19 and becoming a carrier of the deadly virus. Calling those people out for their selfish actions won't exactly nip it in the bud either, as they'll be too thick skinned to care about how you feel about them not wearing a mask in public anyways. With the rapidly growing number of deaths from Covid reported daily, it's time for us to step up and embrace the mask despite our own opinions of using a mask.
Why should you wear a mask?
For a number of important reasons. Chiefly, a mask acts as a barrier to protect you from exposing yourself to harmful droplets in the air that may contain deadly diseases such as Covid-19. Conversely, if you are sick, a mask also prevents you from spreading your illness to others by catching and preventing droplets from dispersing whenever you sneeze or cough. This is useful considering that we are capable of shooting up to 100,000 viruses and bacteria into the air that lasts for 10 minutes with each sneeze, something to think about there. Despite all the benefits that a mask offers, it should be understood that wearing a face mask is not a panacea, people are still required to main social distancing when in public for maximum protection and prevention.
Any mask works right?
Wrong. It should be noted that not all face masks offers protection from bacteria or viruses in the air so we should be vary of the ones that do. These days, face masks come in all shapes and sizes as well as colours and designs which may be overwhelming for shoppers looking for the right mask. Thankfully, in most cases, surgical masks or more commonly known as the disposable mask will do the job just fine as most comes with at least 2 layers and are guaranteed to filter out pathogens from the air your breathe. Fabric masks and cloth masks with eye-catching design and colours might be appealing but make sure that it is at least 2 to 3 layers thick and that it fits properly on your face. If a fabric or cloth mask does not properly fit on your face, you may wear a disposable mask underneath.
Alright, what masks should I avoid buying?
While it's understandable that we'd naturally want the best mask for ourselves, it's important to consider the plight of others as well. This rings true especially for those working in the healthcare and medical first responders department who are facing a shortage of N95 and medical-grade masks as supplies for those masks are depleting fast due to high demand. Therefore, we should avoid buying those masks for now so as not to compete with medical personnel for medical supplies. Other types of masks to avoid are those with exhalation valves or vents, essentially having a hole in your mask. The hole in these masks may allow your respiratory droplets to escape and reach others close by. Lastly, refrain from using a scarf or handkerchief in place of a face mask, these are not the ideal substitute for an actual face mask.
I don't have to wear a mask when cycling or running, right?
First of all, you should not be outside doing physical activities in the first place. While it is important we keep ourselves in shape during these trying times, it is safer to do so at home as there are a variety of home workouts that are worth trying. However, even if you decided that it is safe to exercise outside since you are still in your neighborhood, it won't hurt to wear a mask before you begin. Sure, it might get a little hot and uncomfortable, but it is better to endure it than contracting and infecting your family and others with the virus.
"You too can stay fit and healthy at home"
Everyday, thousands of people lose their battle with the virus which brought them an untimely demise. The unforgiving pandemic also saw thousands of people getting infected each day, with no signs of slowing down. While it is uncertain when the pandemic will subside and our lives will return to normal, we can, however take precautionary measures to curb the rate of daily infections. All that it takes is for everyone to cooperate by staying home and only going out when getting groceries or emergency situations as well as keeping a mask on at all times and practicing social distancing. Together, let's eradicate this deadly outbreak from existence in order to return to a normal life as soon as possible.