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Mask up! The Covid-19 pandemic is not over

Complacency and casual behavior among people are the most commonly cited reasons behind the COVID-19 explosion; while the third wave is behind us, wearing masks shouldn’t go out of practice.

covid-19, pandemic, masks, N95/FFP2 S mask , SARS-CoV-2, savlon, Savlon Swasth India Mission
Health experts have time and again recommended that an N95 or FFP2 S mask are ideal against the COVID-19 virus.

Set against the context of the pandemic, much has been theorized and communicated on Hygiene practices and its adoption. While the pandemic had accelerated adoption of hygiene practices, complacency and casual behaviour around hygiene and safety measures have started setting in. 

Wearing face masks has been known to be one of the most critical steps to preventing the spread of SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19. By now, carrying a certified N95/FFP2 S mask on the go should have become a habit, but there’s a certain development of a casual approach towards masks. A recent ‘Hygiene study’ conducted by Savlon Swasth India Mission along with YouGov revealed that 65% of the audiences surveyed wear a mask and continue to follow any one of the personal or home hygiene practices.**

It is also evident that while we are transitioning between at-home and at-work duties, the usage of the N95/FFP2 S masks has started disappearing from the public spaces and crowded zones. It should be important to wear well-fitted masks that serve the purpose of safety. Fitted masks are important in preventing infection to self and others. 

Understand why wearing mask is necessary: 

Face Masks
  • Pandemic is not over, as yet – While the third wave is behind us, the Omicron hybrid strain XE has been spreading rapidly over the past few weeks. While scientists are yet to ascertain its nature, taking necessary precautions to avert another Covid surge must be exercised. Health experts have time and again recommended that an N95 or FFP2 S mask are ideal against the COVID-19 virus as they protect from airborne droplets and filter 94 or 95 percent of particles (>=0.3 micron). These masks provide better protection than ordinary cloth or surgical masks because they are designed to achieve a very close facial fit and their structural design is effective in filtering out the airborne particles. These masks have electrostatically charged melt blown filters which give them a heightened filtration efficiency over cloth masks.
  • Protection against harmful pollutants – As per experts, India holds 22 of the 30 most polluted cities on Earth where toxic air kills more than one million people each year (look at cities like Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Kolkata). While we developed a habit of wearing a mask every time we stepped outside due to the pandemic, we need to carry forward the habit as masks act as a physical barrier against pollutant particles entering your system, they can trigger irritation and coughing. The tiny pollutant particles are even more harmful to those already suffering from respiratory problems like asthma. What’s vital under these situations is to choose a mask that is effective against such conditions. Normal cloth masks or medical masks do not lend themselves to multiple screening layers to distill harmful particles.

In a nutshell, good hygiene and appropriate masking are key to avoiding spread of infections including COVID-19. Along with other important behaviors such as physical distancing, thoroughly washing hands often and at key moments is essential to controlling the pandemic. As they say, hygiene sahi to health sahi!

**(wash/clean hands after touching door/handles, after touching package, after using lift/elevator, after paying with cash, after picking the newspaper)

Inputs by Tarun Bhardwaj

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