By Harriet Asingura
By not wearing masks, does not only expose one to risks of contracting the deadly Pandemic- Covid19, but also makes them susceptible to imprisonment according to health regulations and statutory laws. During his last address to the nation, president Museveni promised that each person above 6years in Uganda was to get a Face mask before the lock-down can be lifted. Masks should properly cover the mouth and nose.
The N95 is the most recognisable and effective mask. These masks, which are designed for single use only, are made with polyester and other synthetic fibres that act as a filter to make it harder for particles to pass through. They can block at least 95 per cent of tiny particles estimated at 0.3 microns. Some N95 masks have exhalation valves on the front, which make it easier to breathe. However, experts say they are not suitable for children and people with facial hair because they do not fit properly.
Face masks are working double duty to protect people from spreading germs, as well as stopping other germs from getting into human bodies. However , if used thoughtlessly, the masks can also cause unwanted side effects. They can suffocate the lungs more so among people with insomnia, pneumonia and other health issues.
“Wearing a Face mask can mess with one’s sight as it makes the exhaled air go into the eyes. This generates uncomfortable feeling and an impulse to touch your eyes. That’s how you get infected if yours hands are contaminated,” wrote Antonio Lazzarino a medical doctor and epidemiologist, at the university college of London.
Lazzarino wrote in his letter, that masks can restrict a person’s Airflow in the way that face masks make breathing more difficult for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which causes a decreased air flow.
This may worsen the burden of Covid19 if infected people wearing masks spread more contaminated air. This may also worsen the clinical condition of infected people if the enhanced breathing.
Peruth Asiimwe a resident of Kitara- Entebbe road who is affected with asthma, expressed the discomfort she goes through while breathing under masks. “I can not wear it for more than 3 minutes without suffocating hence i have to keep twisting it,” added Asiimwe.
Cause of skin irritation
According to health experts, for people with a dry skin , it’d better to first smear moisturizer before wearing masks. This can help to prevent skin irritation from where the mask rubs your face. “They can hurt children under two or others who are incapacitated. Close face covering should not be placed on a young children under age of 2years,” warns a statement issued by Centre for Disease Control (CDC). Wearing a face mask may also give a false sense of security and make people adopt a reduction in compliance with other control measures.
Dr. Diana Atwine, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health said efforts are underway to sensitise the masses on the importance of using masks. “This is more of a behaviour change. People need to appreciate the importance of using a mask whenever they go out of their homes. We will continue to educate the masses. We will not stay indoors forever. People need to know that this is for their own good, we cannot police everyone,” Dr Atwine said.
However, security experts earlier warned that wearing face masks was likely to breed criminality as law-breakers bury their faces under masks. “They’re likely to guise as though wearing masks, then indulge in crimes. Even with cameras in place, we may find difficulty tracing for their true identities,” intimated one of the senor police officers.