The Ministry of Health has continues to report high numbers of COVID-19 infections despite most people already taking up the habit of wearing facemasks.
The cost of buying mask and disposal is quite high hence the high number of people opting for a washable cloth mask. While it is not as effective as the surgical and N-95 masks, they are better than not wearing any in public.
While many Kenyans are more concerned with being arrested by the authority for not having a facemask, the fight should now move towards the proper wearing of the masks to avoid communal transmission.
We take a look at why COVID-19 cases are rising in such a worrying trend despite Kenyans adapting to wearing facemasks.
Wearing the facemasks correctly
Masks should not be worn just for the sake of it but properly for them to serve their protective function. Masks should cover both nose and mouth for effective protection.
Wash your hands before putting your mask and secure it to cover your nose and mouth and let it go under your chin. Moreover, let it snug against your face side to ensure you breathe easily. Masks should not be use on under 2 years old and those incapable or removing them without assistance such as those incapacitated.
While in public, do not be tempted to lower your mask to below your chin or over your head. Do not touch your facemask and if you do clean your hands with soap and running water for 20 seconds or hand sanitizer for 30 seconds.
One should learn to observe six-foot social distance while in public’ with or without a facemask and whenever stopping to have conversations with people, avoiding being physically close.
Care should be taken while removing facemask to avoid the transfer of germs and viruses on its surface. Wash your hands with soap and water or sanitize them well. Untie the strings behind your head or stretch the ear loops to remove the mask.
Handle only the ear loops or ties while folding outside corners together. Place the mask in a washing machine or container with soap and warm water before washing your hands again.
Once the mask is washed and well rinsed, cloth mask should be left to dry completely on both sides before use again. Having several cloth masks will help in rotational use to avoid the use of damp masks before it dries completely.
A cloth mask is least efficient which is why surgical masks are most recommended, if using surgical facemasks, Do Not wash to recycle them as the minute you wash it, you reduce its quality to cloth mask.
If you must reuse a surgical facemask then fold it into a nylon paper and keep it away for at least five days and wash your hands before wearing it, again and wash or sanitize after wearing the mask.
Remember, wearing masks not only protect yourself but also those around since life, as we know it will never be the same again and welcome to the new normal.