Saturday 25 March 2023

Improper use or use for a long time can turn the mask into a double-edged sword

The facemask is a complementary measure to reduce the risk of infection

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25 March 2023 - At The Banks - BCCR

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(QCOSTARICA) Make sure to use your mask well because it can turn the remedy into something worse than the disease due the improper use or use for a long time of the face mask, warns dialectologist.

The facemask is a complementary measure to reduce the risk of infection. Incorrectly used it can turn the mask into a double-edged sword

On Wednesday, September 9, the use of the mask became mandatory and is here to stay for quite some time in all indoor spaces as Health authorities transferred the responsibility of containing the advance of the coronavirus in Costa Rica to the people, you.

How much time are we talking about? Only the evolution of this coronavirus pandemic will tell. The truth is that, at least, it will be several more months.

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So, build tolerance for using this personal protective equipment, no matter how uncomfortable it is.

Resign yourself because, unless you are part of one of the population groups in which its use is contraindicated, you must include it as part of your daily routine.

“We are with a sustained community transmission that is increasingly difficult to control. As this risk is in the community, the measure for the epidemiological situation in which we are is to assume that anyone with whom we interact has the capacity to transmit the virus,” says Dr. Marcela Hernández, infectologist at the National Children’s Hospital and one of the spokespersons for the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) in the pandemic.

This entails discipline in use. It cannot be placed in any way or used the same device indefinitely, no matter if it is disposable or reusable fabric.

The use of a mask is only one of the practices to minimize the risk of infection, especially if you have to leave the house and enter closed spaces, with other people.

“Its use what it does is reduce the risk. It does not remove it completely. The transmission mechanism that we know is by droplets that exit through the respiratory tract (nose and mouth) and that can enter through the three entry ports: nose, mouth, and eyes. This is how SARS-CoV-2 likes to get in and out of the body,” Hernández explained.

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The two main advantages of the mask are:

  1. If the person who wears it does not know that they are infected, the mask manages to contain their secretions when they speak, sings, or screams. Those tiny droplets that would normally be scattered contaminating surfaces or in the air, do not travel the meter and a half that they are able to move.

  2. The second effect is protective. If the people around a COVID patient wear a mask, they cover two of the entry ports of the virus: the mouth and the nose. In addition, the use of a mask is recommended to block the other point of entry: the eyes.

The main disadvantage of this personal protective equipment (PPE), warns the infectologist, is the false sense of security.

“There are those who neglect the other measures when using the mask. It should be remembered that this equipment is one more measure than those recommended to reduce risk.

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“It all adds up: keeping your distance (two meters), practicing the correct protocol for sneezing and coughing, avoiding going out of the house that is not essential, and frequent hand washing because the virus is not controlled. You cannot neglect the other health practices just for wearing the mask,” Hernández warned.

One of the biggest disadvantages, she points out, is using it incorrectly.

Among the non-recommended practices are:

  • Touching the mask without first properly washing your hands.
  • Using it leaving the nose exposed. Remember that this is one of the preferred gateways for the coronavirus.
  • Use it for many hours, without changing, or using it dirty. A contaminated mask can become a source of disease.

The correct use of the facemask involves completely covering the nose and mouth, from the bridge of the nose to below the chin. It should not be loose, nor should it be placed under the chin or hanging over one ear.

The doctor criticized some of the country’s legislators on their improper use of the mask publicly on the first day of mandatory use.

Be sure to bring a paper bag to store when not in use. Remember that, at most, the recommended time of use is two hours, regardless of whether it is a reuseable (that is washabale) or disposable.

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"Rico" is the crazy mind behind the Q media websites, a series of online magazines where everything is Q! In these times of new normal, stay at home. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

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