How Do Masks Prevent the Spread of Diseases?

With the coronavirus pandemic in full force, limiting its spread is a priority for everyone.

While infection cases temporarily decreased, this only lasted for a short while before they dramatically surged in response to many people failing to respect the severity of coronavirus.

In particular, many people are not taking the proper safety precautions needed to prevent the spread of infectious diseases like COVID-19. One aspect of this that is neglected the most involves wearing a cloth face mask.

During the current pandemic, you should always wear a mask in public to stop the virus from spreading. Unfortunately, many misconceptions surround face masks and this results in them not being worn.

Face masks are critical to limiting the spread of COVID-19. To help you appreciate this, we’ll illustrate how they are effective below.

Physical Barrier Against Droplets

First, face masks create a physical barrier against respiratory droplets.

This is significant because the main method in which coronavirus is transmitted is through respiratory droplets. These are expelled any time you speak, cough, or sneeze.

Respiratory droplets are tiny particles that you often can’t see. However, if you’ve ever stood near someone who sprayed a large amount of spit as they talk, you can envision that happening at a reduced scale for everyone else.

These droplets are expelled into the air and will land on someone else or get inhaled. This will directly transmit the virus and cause the recipient to get sick.

With a face mask, respiratory droplets have a much harder time traveling. A mask provides a physical barrier that blocks most (but not all) expelled droplets.

Considering this, masks are important to wear primarily because it stops an infected person from spreading the virus through the respiratory droplets they create.

That said, those that are not sick should still wear masks to add an extra layer of protection against droplets and particles in the air. There’s also the possibility of being unaware of an infection.

Masks provide physical defense against diseases like coronavirus, which make them effective prevention tools.

Infections Aren’t Obvious

Another important understanding is that infections aren’t always obvious.

One of the biggest problems with the novel coronavirus is that a carrier may not always show symptoms. You can appear perfectly healthy or fit and still have the virus.

On the other hand, many of the symptoms of COVID-19 align with the standard cold or flu. This can cause someone to mistake a less impactful illness for the virus causing the current pandemic.

The other part of this is that testing for coronavirus is not widely accessible. This means it’s very difficult to confirm if you have the virus, which can cause you to unknowingly spread it to others.

For all these reasons, masks should be worn. Most people have no clue if they have the virus, so it’s better to err on the side of caution. On the chance that you have COVID-19, you’ll go a long way toward preventing others from catching it from you.

Everyone Must Wear One

Face masks are only effective if everyone is wearing one, or at least more than 80% of the population.

As we touched on above, masks are primarily used to prevent a sick person from spreading the virus to others. In other words, masks are defense tools for the public as a whole first and self-defense items second.

This means that you wear a mask to protect others. Many see wearing a mask as an impingement on their rights or a sign of weakness, but they fail to realize that wearing a mask has nothing to do with them.

When you wear a mask, it’s a sign of respect to others that you care to avoid spreading the virus should you potentially have it. Considering this, everyone should be wearing a mask to keep society safe.

The more people that wear a mask, the greater the benefit will be.

Proper Use Is Essential

For a face mask to be effective, it must be worn and used properly.

While cloth masks are not the best option for face protection, they are what is recommended for the general public. Medical grade masks must be preserved for medical personnel as they need it the most.

That said, cloth masks can still be effective at preventing the transfer of respiratory droplets. This comes down to choosing the right mask and ensuring you use it correctly.

Your mask should ideally consist of multiple layers. You want them to all be breathable, yet capable of filtering particles. The layer touching your face should be of a material that can absorb moisture for the greatest effect.

When wearing a mask, you must always keep it over your mouth and nose. Many people simply wear it over their mouth but fail to remember that they breathe and sneeze out of their nose.

Furthermore, you should avoid touching the mask while wearing it. You don’t want to inadvertently touch the droplets you mean to stop.

When proper masks are worn, they are very effective at preventing the spread of infectious diseases.

Masks Are Not Foolproof

Finally, you should remember that masks are not foolproof at preventing infections.

Wearing a mask is not enough to prevent you from getting sick or spreading an infection to others. It is an effective defense mechanism, but it is not enough alone.

You must pair it with the other pandemic safety guidelines. In particular, this includes social distancing, refraining from direct contact with others, and frequent hand washing.

Even when you follow all safety guidelines, your risk is not eliminated. It is greatly reduced, but you can still get sick from indirect methods like aerosol particles and touching a contaminated surface.

With this in mind, you must do as much as you can to avoid getting sick or spreading it to others. This starts with a mask, but it doesn’t end there. Follow all coronavirus safety recommendations.

Closing Thoughts

One of the most critical safety tips during COVID-19 is to wear a mask in public. Some states have made it mandatory, but others are only suggesting it and a large percentage of people are not wearing masks.

This is a major mistake because it is causing the virus to spread like crazy. Masks are effective at preventing this because they provide a physical barrier against respiratory droplets and infections aren’t always obvious.

Mask usage is only effective if everyone is wearing one and they’re being used correctly. Keep in mind that they are not guaranteed to protect you from coronavirus.

Your safest option is to isolate as much as possible and always follow safety guidelines when you do need to go outside. Wear a mask to protect those around you and yourself.