Masking during Covid19

The Government of Botswana has made it mandatory for members of the public to wear masks as we continue our fight against Covid19. The incorrect use of masks will pose a health threat to members of the public and contribute to the spread of the virus. There have been inconsistencies in the use of masks and it is important that the public is educated on the different types of masks available and their use. Social distancing and hand washing/sanitizing are of prime importance in the current lockdown and as preventative measures. It is suggested that wearing a mask would complement these measures by controlling the harm at source. As Government implements lifts certain regulations and people return to work, mass masking might help to reduce a likely increase in transmission. If you are likely to be in close contact with someone infected, a mask cuts the chance of the disease being passed on. If you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, or have been diagnosed, wearing a mask can protect others. So masks are crucial for health and social care workers looking after patients and are also recommended for family members who need to care for someone who is ill – ideally both the patient and carer should have a mask. Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.

As we all go and buy our masks it is important to remember that we cannot try them on and we need to wash them before we wear them. Here are a few tips to follow when using your mask.

1. Before putting on a mask, clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.

2. Cover mouth and nose with mask and make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask.

3. Avoid touching the mask while using it; if you do, clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.

4. Replace the mask with a new one as soon as it is damp and do not re-use single-use masks.

5. To remove the mask: remove it from behind (do not touch the front of mask); discard immediately in a closed bin; clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.

There has been a mushrooming of local entities and individuals manufacturing reusable masks made from cotton. As we support local SMME's, understanding the material used and handling the mask according to the above steps is likely to protect you and the community from te spread of the virus.