Having been out and about for the past few days, I’ve witnessed firsthand the impact that the Wuhan Virus has inflicted on local shores: scores of civilians walking around with surgical masks as they seek to circumvent the infectious pathogen.
But the question begets; are the masks really as necessary as mask suppliers claim, or are they actually more hazardous to one’s health than one would think?
And so without further ado, we shall explore a particular expert’s opinion on the whole ‘mask craze’, and discuss whether surgical masks are optimal for your protection, or a mere excuse for you to tone down your vigilance level.
Expert Says Healthy People Shouldn’t Wear Masks If Not It Might Backfire Instead
According to Dr Chia Shi-Lu, chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Health, surgical masks should be utilised by ill personnel, as it’s not necessary for those who are healthy.
This is because the surgical masks are designed to prevent the passing of virus from a wearer, and not the other way round.
“The surgical masks can prevent the passing of virus from a wearer, but when it comes to protecting (a healthy wearer), the masks won’t protect from viruses,” Dr Chia said.
“Viruses are passed most commonly through contact, such as when someone touches a contaminated door handle and then touches their face. The transmission is often not directly airborne.”
He also disputes the whole ‘necessity’ of wearing a mask when one’s not ill.
“I understand the concern, but as of now, there is no need to buy masks or wear them unless you are ill.
“In fact, wearing masks can give people a false sense of security and cause them to be less aware or careful of their surroundings, and we don’t want people to be doing that.”
He urged Singaporeans to look up official advisories and obtain their information from credible news outlets and reputable sources, including their doctor.
And So… Now What?
According to various experts, personal hygiene is much more important than protective veils that cover the an entire chunk of your face. In an updated advisory on masks and mask wearing (that was uploaded on gov.sg) yesterday, the Ministry of Health pointed out that it’s important to observe personal hygiene standards, and that everyone should wash their hands with soap.
Should someone have a runny nose or cough, they’re advised to wear a mask, and see a doctor if they feel unwell.
And by the way, that’s the exact reason why the authorities are giving free masks: it’s for people who are ill.
Raw and undercooked meats, as well as close contact with poultry and birds, are inadvisable.
Having gone through a number of sources, it seems that the general consensus’ as follows:
- Sick personnel are advised to wear surgical masks, in order to curb the chances of transmission
- Healthy people do not require surgical masks on a day-to-day basis, as masks offer limited protection and are not geared towards the prevention of virus contamination. N95 masks offer the best protection in this case, but they’re inadvisable as they’re hard to utilise appropriately
- To ensure maximum protection, cleanse your hands with soap regularly, avoid touching your face with your hands and avoid raw and undercooked meats, as well as close contact with poultry and birds. Personal hygiene should also be a priority in this time of crisis
Remember, you’re not just keeping yourself safe. You’re keeping everyone around you safe as well. So stay strong, keep safe, and we’ll get through this.
And of course, if you indeed need to wear a mask, do check out our guide on how to wear a surgical mask correctly.
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