BY PROF DR HALIMU SHAURI
(Dean; School of Humanities and Social Sciences; Pwani University)
Every challenge comes with its on changes, some positive and some negative. COVID-19 has come with face masks, the new fashion in town.
Indeed, there are different designs of face masks in the market; some made of pieces of clothes, some clothes and others paper masks.
Because face masks have become a fad, there are some people who have also infused comedy in face masks.
I, for one, have been seeing many people with funny and hilarious face masks. I saw one made of orange peel and the wearer had written “this face masks comes with vitamin C, helps fight COVID-19”.
I saw another made of banana leaves and another of coconut shell. The joke masks are many.
Comedy aside, what people don’t know is that face masks can make or break the curve of COVID-19. I can see you suddenly asking how?
Yes, masks come in different sizes and quality. Some are good quality but small and cannot cover or protect you well. Some are of inferior quality. So what then do we do? Yes, you must choose face masks that fit you well. Secondly they should be of good quality to safeguard you from COVID-19 infection.
Good quality face masks have three layers of materials, outer clothing, inner or middle layer filter and inner clothing or linen.
However, it’s not quality only that matters but also handling. Have you seen how mask vendors hawk the products? Some are not packaged and are hanging or are being peddled whole day in the open!
This is not even worse. The worst is when different buyers touch them in selecting what fits them or satisfy their needs. Some even test them and return to the vendor if not satisfied.
Surely, the vendor and the buyer should know that this in itself can facilitate the spread of corona.
I wish to remind mask buyers and vendors that their acts of choosing and selling can be a conduit for transmission of COVID-19.
When the guidelines push for personal hygiene, we should know it includes masks too. I know it’s a new fashion and industry but let’s make it safe to serve the purpose of preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
I want to pass a warning to vendors who sale fake face masks. You are wondering whether am serious! Yes, there are fake or counterfeit face masks too, beware!
The warning is that selling fake face masks is welcoming your own infection. What goes around comes around!
The same person you short change with a fake mask may become the cause of your own Infection or that of your loved one. The hunter, I hear, can become the hunted!
Be it as it may, do you know how to wear your mask? I have noted that the masks have the two sides with different colors.
Of the white side and blue side, which side is outer or inner part? Do you wear it from either side?
I have read the blue or coloured side is out when you are sick and do not want to spread the sicknesses, while the white or filter is out when you are healthy and don’t want to catch the sicknesses.
Find out more from your health provider about wearing the mask.
Finally, let’s buy quality and well packaged or hygienically handled masks that fit us well. We should not let masks, which are meant to prevent COVID-19 infection, be the new agents of transmission.
Know what face masks you buy and use them well to keep corona away from you. Remember, everything about corona prevention revolves around you and me.