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Due to the scarcity of surgical masks and N95 respirator masks which are ideal for preventing Corona virus infection, now many are using cloth masks as an effort to protect themselves from the Corona virus. However, what is the ideal way to use a cloth mask to prevent Corona virus infection?
Coronavirus can be transmitted through splashes of phlegm or saliva when a person with COVID-19 coughs or sneezes. To reduce the risk of transmitting the virus, people who are coughing or sneezing are advised to wear masks to prevent splashes of body fluids.
Not a few people are wearing surgical masks in the midst of the Corona virus outbreak. However, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, surgical masks have become rare and expensive items. Not only the public, doctors, nurses, and all medical staff who treat patients are now starting to have difficulty getting masks.
Therefore, many are forced to look for other masks, namely cloth masks. However, are cloth masks effective in preventing the spread of the Corona virus?
Fabric Mask and Corona Virus
Until now, there has been no research that proves that cloth masks are effective in protecting a person from the Corona virus.
There are several studies that show that compared to cloth masks, surgical masks and N95 respirator masks look more effective in filtering dust, bacteria, viruses, and can prevent the entry of phlegm or saliva splashes from other people when they cough or sneeze.
Therefore, cloth masks are considered less effective in protecting you from exposure to viruses, including the Corona virus.
The following are some reasons why cloth masks are less effective in reducing the risk of transmission of the Corona virus:
- Fabric masks are not medical devices and have not been tested to recognized medical standards.
- The fabric used is not the same as a surgical mask or N95 mask.
- The ends of cloth masks tend to be loose, so they can't cover the area around the nose and mouth perfectly.
- Fabric masks cannot prevent the entry of the virus into the nose or mouth through the air.
- Fabric masks actually risk increasing the risk of viruses entering the body because these masks are easy to move and loose, so the wearer needs to repeatedly touch the face to adjust the position of the mask.
Even so, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the use of cloth masks to the wider community to suppress the spread of the Corona virus, especially by people who have been infected with the Corona virus but do not experience any symptoms and appear he althy. just be he althy.
However, keep in mind, some cloth masks are equipped with valves or ventilation. This valve mask is indeed more comfortable to wear, but is not effective at preventing the transmission of the Corona virus.
How to Use Cloth Masks to be More Effective in Preventing Corona Virus
Although it is called less effective than other types of masks, it does not mean that cloth masks are not suitable for use at all. Due to the limited number of masks that are ideal for preventing the Corona virus, cloth masks can also be used as a last resort to protect you from exposure to the Corona virus.
This is considered better than not wearing a mask at all when you cough and sneeze or when you are in close proximity to other people who may already be infected with the Corona virus.
To keep cloth masks safe and effective, try following these tips:
- Choose a mask that fits your face size and can cover your mouth, nose and chin.
- Wash your hands before using the mask, then put the mask on your face and tie the mask strap behind your head tightly so that the mask doesn't come loose.
- Avoid touching the mask, when a cloth mask is used. If you want to fix a changed or loose mask position, wash your hands before touching the cloth mask that is being used.
- Remove the mask by opening the mask strap behind the head, after use.
- Wash the cloth mask with hot water and detergent.
- Immediately replace the cloth mask if it is torn or damaged.
Tips to Prevent Corona Virus
In order to avoid transmission of the Corona virus that causes COVID-19, there are several preventive steps you can take to protect yourself, namely:
- Wash your hands regularly with clean running water and soap for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then immediately throw the tissue in the trash.
- Avoid touching the eye, nose and mouth area, before washing your hands.
- Live physical distancing by continuing to study, worship, and work at home.
- Keep your immune system strong by exercising regularly at home, consuming balanced nutritious food and supplements, reducing stress, getting enough sleep, and not smoking.
Wearing a cloth mask may not be fully effective in protecting yourself from the Corona virus. However, this can at least prevent the transmission of the virus to others, if you have COVID-19.
If you have a fever, cough, and shortness of breath, especially if in the last 14 days you have been in close proximity to a person who is positive for the Corona virus or is in a COVID-19 pandemic area, immediately carry out the self-isolation protocol and call the COVID-19 hotline. 19 at 119 Ext.9 to get further directions.
In addition, you can also try the Corona Virus Risk Check feature which has been provided for free by Alodokter to find out the magnitude of your risk of being infected with the Corona virus.
If you have questions regarding Corona virus infection, both symptoms and preventive measures for COVID-19, don't hesitate to chat with doctors directly on the Alodokter application. In addition, you can also make an appointment with a doctor at the hospital through this application.