For those who are rushing to buy face masks and gloves, this one’s for you.
Stop and forget that.
The most effective way to avoid coronavirus is to consistently wash your hands throughout the day, while face masks and gloves actually spread the virus more, as showcased by Free Malaysia Today via an interview with David Powell, a physician and medical adviser to the International Air Transport Association.
So, do face masks and gloves actually help prevent infections?
“First of all, masks. There are very limited evidence of benefits, if any, in a casual situation. Masks are useful for those who are unwell to protect other people from them. But wearing a mask all the time will be ineffective. It will allow viruses to be transmitted around it, through it and worse still, if it becomes moist it will encourage the growth of viruses and bacteria,” he said.
Apparently, gloves are even worse!
“Because, people put on gloves and then touch everything they would have touched with their hands. So, it just becomes another way of transferring micro-organisms. And inside the gloves, your hands get hot and sweaty, which is a really good environment for microbes to grow,” he added.
Hence, especially for those who frequently travel via planes, what is the best way to ensure you don’t get infected?
“Hand hygiene, because contrary to what people think, the hands are the way that these viruses most efficiently spread. Top of the list is frequent hand washing and hand sanitising, or both. Avoid touching your face. If you cough or sneeze, it’s important to cover your face with a sleeve. Better yet, a tissue to be disposed of carefully and then sanitising the hands afterwards. Washing your hands and drying them is the best procedure. When that’s not easy to do, alcohol-based sanitiser is a good second-best,” Powell said.
And there you have it!
No more having to go store to store looking for universally sold out face masks. All you have to do is always ensure your hands are as clean as possible and the Wuhan virus will stay at bay.
Regret buying all those face masks? Let us know in the comments section.
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