Mask Is A Boon, Don’t Discard It Even When COVID-19 Is Under Control

The COVID-19 pandemic broke almost a year and a half ago. It has claimed 4.5 million lives globally, including over 4 lakh in India till date.

The severity of the pandemic has come down, but the world is yet to get a grip over the deadly coronavirus. There is no definite treatment for the virus as it has been mutating and changing character. Preventive strategies have played a key role in containing the crisis.

International agencies like World Health Organization (WHO) and Centre for  Disease Control (CDC) have advocated a number of preventive measures which countries across the world have tried to implement.

The important protective measures to combat COVID are use of mask, personal protective equipment, frequent washing of hands, use of sanitizer and maintaining social distance of 2 metres.

The government of India has been repeatedly making the people aware of these preventing measures through various mediums including newspapers and electronic media. It’s not an easy task in India as over 60% of the population live in villages.

Because of water scarcity, frequent handwashing is not possible by the villagers. Sanitizing agents which are used by urban people are quite expensive as well.

Also, maintaining and implementing a distance of 2 metres is impractical without lockdown and shutdown in a populous country like India.

The only preventing measure which can work effectively is the use of mask. About 40% to 50% of people based in urban and semi-urban areas are wearing mask round the year. Some of the state governments have imposed fines for are not using mask.

In villages, however, mask usage is rare.

A big challenge that India faces is air pollution in metro cities, urban and semi-urban areas. Air pollution is of different types, with dust and particulate materials constituting more than 10%. It leads to several diseases such as —

* Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary diseases (C.O.P.D)

* Chronic bronchitis

* Asthma

* Ischemic Heart Diseases (IHD)

* Bronchogenic Carcinoma.

This makes use of mask all the more important in our country. There are 8 types of masks available in the world:

1. Bandana mask

2. Homemade cloth mask

3. T-shirt mask

4. Store-bought cloth mask

5. Cloth mask with filter

6. Neck gaiters and bala mask

7. Cone style mask

8. N95, N99, KN95 and others.

Among homemade masks, two-layered cotton mask is very cheap and easily attainable. This type of mask can filter 50% of dust and particulate materials. Masks made from old T-shirt can do that also.

Once COVID-19 is under control, people will be tempted to discard the mask. But people should realize that pollution caused by dust and particulate materials is bound to adversely affect our health. The doctors, literate people are very much aware that inhalation of dust and particulate materials produces respiratory and heart diseases. But they didn’t wear wear masks until coronavirus hit us.

So COVID or no COVID, I appeal to the people of India to always use the mask in order to avoid illnesses and stay healthy.

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