The rising cases of the Wuhan Coronavirus across the globe have created a sense of panic amongst the people which has coerced people to hoard masks and other protective gear in several parts of the country. To dispel this fear amongst citizens, the central, as well as the state governments, are reiterating the basic guidelines on who, on priority, should wear masks.
Today, the Karnataka state government issued an advisory clarifying who needs to wear a mask and what type of mask should be worn when. In a tweet on Tuesday, the Karnataka government reiterated the Central Ministry’s advisory which says “everyone need not wear a mask” and that only three categories of people need to wear:
- Those who have coronavirus symptoms such as cough, fever or difficulty in breathing
- Those who are caring for coronavirus or COVID-19 patients or suspected patients
- Health workers attending to patients with respiratory symptoms.
The Advisory also specifies that whoever is treating or handling COVID-19 patients need to wear the N95 mask, while others can wear the triple-layer surgical mask.
Earlier in a tweet, the central ministry had said the same. It also explained the proper way of wearing the mask to protect yourself from coronavirus infection:
- Unfold the pleats of the mask, it’s important to ensure they are facing down.
- Place the mask on your face to cover nose, mouth and chin completely and ensure that there are no gaps on any side.
- Change the mask every six hours or once it is wet. Hold the mask by the strings and avoid touching the mask while wearing.
- Don’t touch the exterior of the mask as they have the risk of contamination.
- Don’t leave the mask hanging from the neck. *Never reuse disposable masks and make sure that the used mask is dumped in a closed bin.
- Always wash your hands with soap and water or sanitiser when you remove your mask.
Here is a list of basic steps need to be taken to prevent ourselves and family members from getting infected.
Social distancing is the key to keep ourselves safe from contracting the infection. The more the number of people, the more likely of the spread of the virus. Staying isolated and not coming in contact with a lot of people is the only way to contain the spread of the disease.
Wearing masks if you are healthy does not give you any extra protection from the virus, so it is advisable to stop using and piling on masks if you are not sick.
Medical advisories from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Government of India has reminded us time and again not to touch our face, nose and mouth too often. This helps reduce the chances of catching the virus as infection from one’s hands do not reach the nose or mouth from where it can infect the body.
Keeping your hands clean will also help reduce the chances of the infection spreading any further.
The internet is filled with information about the symptoms and the so-called cures available for coronavirus. Do not believe anything unless it comes from a reliable source or a reliable medical practitioner.
If you feel you have contracted the virus, do not seek any treatments other than the ones advised by your doctor. Alternative treatments have not been found to be effective to treat the virus.
Visit the doctor immediately if you start to feel symptoms that may indicate you have the infection. Do not take antibiotics lying in the medical kit at your home as antibiotics are not the correct medication to fight of infections caused by Coronavirus.
Most of the times, panic leads to people taking wrong and ill-informed decisions. If you follow basic personal hygiene along with the other precautions, it is very less likely for you to catch the disease. It is important to keep up to date with reliable information. Propagating wrong information can further fuel panic among the people and have an adverse effect on the efforts to contain the epidemic.