Novel coronavirus has pushed a large percentage of the population to wear face masks. However, with diminishing incomes and supplies of masks, many people have resorted to homemade masks. Others are reusing their old and dirty masks. What most people who do this don’t know are the dangers they expose themselves to with these practices.
Homemade Cloth Masks
It’s now commonplace to see people wearing cloth masks. Some wear these masks innocently without knowing that they are getting almost zero protection against airborne particles, viruses and bacterial. Cloth masks, similar to surgical masks, will not protect you from particulate matter, or any airborne pathogens.
Wearing a cloth face mask gives a false sense of protection. This encourages people to be more careless and can actually mean their behaviour gets them exposed to more airborne diseases and other potential hazards than those without masks. For this reason, many health experts recommend wearing certified N95 (FFP2) face masks. Whether in public spaces or working in high-rish environments, one should always wear a new, certified mask to minimize risk. That’s is the best way to protect lungs from bacteria and viruses.
The Dangers of Mask Reuse
Having the right mask is not enough to keep you safe from viruses and bacteria. You need to ensure you wear it properly. A big problem today is the people who reuse face masks. It’s a common problem not only in the USA, but across the world. What most people don’t understand are the dangers they expose themselves to with reusing masks. Here are some of the dangers of using the same mask over and over:
Increased Risk of Infection
As the world is fighting the covid-19 pandemic, one of the best personal protective items has been the face mask. Anecdotal evidence shows they help to reduce the rate of infection between people. This is only possible if the mask is in good condition however. If you have used the mask
once, it will have a reduced effectiveness. The protective layer will wear out and with every reuse makes it weaker. It will reach a point where it will just be like a cloth mask and offer no protection at all.
Another danger of reusing masks is self-contamination. Whether you are using a common surgical mask or N95 respirator, there is still a chance of picking a virus or bacteria. For instance, if you place it on a contaminated surface and reuse it, you may be exposed. For this reason, most masks are labelled “single-use only.”
Nasty Skin Diseases
Many people have developing acne during the last year. They may or may not know that the dirty mask they keep reusing is the reason for this. Bacteria can stay on the mask, especially when it is moist from breathing. This bacterium then comes into contact with skin every time that mask is re-worn. Accumulating dirt and sweat, over time the wearer is likely to develop skin irritations such as mask acne, or even more serious infections around the nose and mouth