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There are varying rules and advice in different countries around the world when it comes to wearing face masks. Currently, the UK government does recommend the public to wear ‘face protection’ in places where social distancing isn’t possible, for example on public transport or when going to the supermarket
Additionally, many health professionals also recommend wearing face masks, not only when you are in enclosed spaces, but even when you are outside with other people around you, to help prevent the spread of the virus. Some people can be asymptomatic, meaning that they may carry the virus but feel no symptoms. As you might not realise that you are sick, wearing a mask can protect others from getting the virus from you.
During the current phase, we are lucky enough to be able to spend more time outdoors in parks and even meeting up with one individual from outside our household. In order to maintain these current allowances, we must ensure that we follow restrictions and do our very best to prevent the virus from spreading. So even if you are not feeling sick, make sure that you wear some kind of face-covering to minimise the risk of those around you becoming exposed to your own respiratory emissions.
Most masks will have elastic straps to attach the mask to your face. To reduce the risk of infection, you need to be able to remove it by using the straps so that you do not have to touch your face. You’ll ideally want to look for masks that are comfortable with a snug but not too tight fit. Some close-fitting and thicker material masks have valves built-in to avoid any dense material from filtering in (usually required for construction workers). However, the air you exhale is not filtered, therefore will not protect others if you have the virus.
When worn correctly, masks may provide a physical protection barrier against the users’ coughs and sneezes as well as from their surroundings. While they will provide some protection against, most masks will not act as a barrier against smaller respiratory droplets or germ particles.
When you are in your own home, you do not need to wear a face mask unless someone in your household is unwell. If this is the case, the sick individual should stay in a separate room and should have no or very little contact with the rest of the household. If possible, this individual should also use a different bathroom to the rest of the household.
With many options available, it can be tricky to pick the best face mask for you. For everyday use when you’re outside, we recommend a comfortable face mask that is reusable and washable. This will lower waste and help look after the environment. Discarded single-use face masks could be causing significant harm to the environment. UCL’s Plastic Waste Hub released a document stating that if every person in the UK used one single-use face mask every day for a year, it would create 66,000 tonnes of contaminated plastic waste and ten times more climate change impact than reusable masks. Buy your environmentally friendly reusable mask today.
As well as wearing a face mask, there are other precautions you should take to help stop the spread of Coronavirus. It is imperative that hands are kept clean. If you are out and about, carry hand sanitiser and always wash hands when you return home. It is also essential to practice social distancing as per government guidelines – stay 2 metres apart when outside, whether that is in parks when grocery shopping or out for daily exercise. Additionally, using a disinfectant will help kill viruses on surfaces.
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