In recent weeks, medical masks can be seen on almost every person on the street, on the subway, on the bus or in a regular store. People wear them in connection with the spread of the virus, which often causes pneumonia.

In fact, a mask must be worn not only when an epidemic or quarantine is declared in the country, but also in general for any infectious diseases. Why do it? Let’s figure it out.

The history of the appearance of medical masks

The need to wear special masks during various diseases has been recognized by people for a long time. For example, in the Middle Ages, when a plague epidemic raged in Europe (a terrible disease with high fever, vomiting and a huge number of painful ulcers all over the body), doctors wore a dense mask resembling a bird’s beak. It became known as the «plague doctor’s mask».

Although such masks did not completely save doctors from infection (in the Middle Ages, of course, they did not know about this), they minimized the percentage of illness among doctors. Inside the beak, doctors placed incense, herbs, garlic, and aromatic salt to form an antibacterial environment and rid themselves of the unpleasant odor caused by ulcers on the body of the infected.

Around the beginning of the 19th century, bandages made of woolen fabric were used as protective masks, into which a special valve was inserted. Cotton masks began to spread a little later. The peak of the use of such protective equipment came in the 20th century, when an epidemic of the Spanish flu broke out in the world — a serious flu epidemic, swift and very dangerous.

Since the end of the last century, medical masks have been used everywhere, most often in hospitals and dental offices.

Why do I need a mask when I’m sick

As mentioned above, not so long ago, medical masks could only be seen on doctors in clinics or at dentists. Therefore, many really do not understand whether it is necessary to wear these personal protective equipment at all and who should do it at all — a sick or a healthy person?

As the statements of scientists and representatives of Ministries of Health around the world show, first of all, a sick person should put on a mask. Therefore, if you cough or sneeze, be sure to wear a medical mask! For what?

The fact is that in the process of sneezing and coughing, a person spreads the infection further, as if along a chain. This way of transmitting diseases is called «airborne droplets», because during coughing and sneezing, microparticles of our saliva with infection enter the air. If you do not cover your mouth and nose, then the transmission of the infection will continue — the other person will inhale these particles and become infected, for example, with the flu.

However, if at this moment a mask is worn on a coughing or sneezing person, the spread of infection, if not completely excluded, then at least minimized. So each of us will be able to protect others from infection.

Of course, an ordinary medical mask with strings is not designed to fully protect against bacteria and viruses. But still, it reduces the risk of infection, which is better than nothing.

As for healthy people, it is not necessary for them to wear masks at all, since this tool does not protect against viruses, even if it has a filter. This happens because the virus consists of microscopic particles that are able to penetrate even through a filter. And without a filter, through the thin fabric of the mask, they will seep all the more!

And yet doctors do not urge healthy people to throw away medical masks. It is worth wearing them even during an epidemic. Even if a person does not yet have symptoms (fever, headache, cough, etc.), he can be a carrier of the virus. And the mask will reduce the likelihood of the spread of infection even “on the way”.

Rules for wearing a mask when sick

In order for a medical mask to benefit both the wearer and his environment, this item of personal protection must be able to use. It would seem that what is the problem — just hook the mask on your ears and go! But it’s not that simple. Try to follow a few rules:

  • You need to change the mask every two to three hours. This is necessary because the mask fabric is impregnated with microparticles of saliva and thereby loses its protective function;
  • Masks cannot be reused, nor can they be passed on to other people: everyone must use their own and clean;
  • Make sure that the mask fits snugly to the face, otherwise its effectiveness will decrease;
  • When you are sick, you need to wear a mask even at home! So you will worry about the safety of your family. Of course, if you do not want them to fall down with a fever or cough;
  • Remove the mask correctly, by the strings. It is impossible to remove it by the tissue part, since it is already infected. After removing the mask, put it in a small bag or wrap it in paper and throw it in the trash. And don’t forget to wash your hands thoroughly afterwards!

Be healthy!