As everyone knows, we are in a COVID-19 pandemic. The definition of the word pandemic is an epidemic occurring worldwide, or over a very wide area, crossing international boundaries and usually affecting a large number of people. With that definition in mind, here’s a reminder of who this pandemic can affect lethally: the elderly, people with breathing problems, those with diabetes or any other existing health problems. Almost everyone knows someone and even comes in contact with someone regularly with one of those characteristics or conditions. Now, how can we help keep these people safe? Wear a mask.
According to UCSF, masks help to “prevent larger expelled droplets from evaporating into smaller droplets that can travel farther.” A mask should be breathable, and it is normal to feel your breath outside of your mask. However, if you feel any sort of water vapor or droplets from your mouth outside of your mask, that detects a problem. In essence, anything put in front of your mouth and nose can deter particles more than nothing at all. But, let’s get into a breakdown of what type of mask does what in the prevention process.
N95 masks are the most useful in this situation, determined by Mayo Clinic. They are white masks with yellow ties to go around the ears. While they are the most beneficial, it is recommended that these masks are saved for the essential workers, especially in the medical field. Therefore, it is highly advised that if you are not an essential worker to resort to a surgical mask, which is the disposable blue mask, or cloth mask. Obviously with any mask you choose, make sure to follow the instructions of washing, disposing, and sanitizing.
In addition to wearing masks, there are plenty of other ways to keep you and others safe. Firstly, make sure to have the appropriate mindset concerning the pandemic and how others are reacting to it. Fake coughing or sneezing on other people is the opposite of the right attitude to have in this situation. Be considerate of others and of their families. Secondly, wash your hands and sanitize heavily used objects and areas in your home, dorm, car, or workspace. Lastly, social distancing is a really effective way to be considerate and keep everyone involved safe. Instead of cramming into an elevator, take the stairs. Try to find ways to be thoughtful and safe everyday by staying six feet apart from others.
We have to make the most of a bad deal, and this pandemic is definitely a bad deal. However, if we all wear masks often enough now, we won’t have to wear them as long. This pandemic and the inconvenience of having to wear a mask can seem like we are losing touch of reality. In our case, it can feel like we are losing the real college experience. And while we can’t do anything about the fact that Coronavirus exists, we can do something about controlling the spread and duration of the pandemic by wearing masks and being cautious. Being safe by wearing masks, social distancing, and sanitizing often has nothing to do with political affiliation, it is a selfless and selfish act all at once. It keeps you and others safe. Mask up.