As face masks, now coming in a variety of colours, styles and materials, appear on the faces of people around us, the good news is that many people are doing their part to slow the spread of the coronavirus. However, the bad news is that some people are wearing their masks in a wrong way.
One of the biggest mistakes people make is that they pull the masks under their noses or completely off their faces to rest under their chins.
H E Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed al Sa’eedi, Minister of Health, said that no indicators, as of now, show that the virus is diminishing and that the only weapon so far to fight the virus is proper use of face masks.
“Wearing a face mask is the only weapon so far to fight the virus because till now there is neither medication nor vaccine in Oman,” he said.
Speaking to Muscat Daily, Dr Sulaiman al Shereiqi, senior specialist in public health, Ministry of Heath, said, “Wearing a face mask is a very important strategy to reduce the risk of transmission of airborne infection from ones with respiratory infection.
“It also saves us when we wear it from getting these infections by limiting the chance of breathing in air containing highly infected droplets from persons having the disease in case they suddenly cough.”
“So, both air passages need to be covered. That is the nose and mouth. The mask must seal as much as possible from the nasal arch down to the chin below at all times when we are mixing or about to mix with others,” he added.
Dr Shereiqi said face masks must be worn properly.
“Face masks must also be worn properly to avoid as much as possible touching the likely contaminated inner or outer surfaces, and following this process with a proper hand wash with soap and water or rubbing them with a sanitiser,” he said.
Dr Benny Panakkal, senior intervention cardiologist and MD, Badr al Samaa Group of Hospitals, said, “Now as Oman is past the peak and all activities gradually normalise, it’s important to keep the rate of COVID-19 infections under control by being stringent in taking proper precautions.
“Social distancing, wearing a mask and frequent hand washing are the cornerstones in this matter and is going to stay as a norm for many more days.”
Dr Panakkal said wearing a mask properly is important rather than for the sake of doing it.
“A mask is used to prevent droplets of respiratory and oral secretions being transferred among persons who come in contact. For this it’s important to ensure that the masks actually cover the nose and mouth of the wearer. Otherwise it will defeat it’s purpose,” he said.