Use Masks, Respect Health Protocols

Jawaid Iqbal

Wearing a face mask prevents the spread of infection and prevents an individual from contracting any airborne contagious disease. When someone coughs, talks or sneezes they could release germs into the air that may infect others. Face masks are part of an infection-control strategy to eliminate cross-contamination. There are protocols to handle and use face masks. Always wash your hands with soap and water before touching the face mask. Remove mask from the dispenser or box and make sure the masks do not have any holes or tears. Make sure you determine which side is the top and which is the front of the mask, so you can properly wear the mask. Different face masks must be used as per the given protocols.
Face masks with ear loops: Hold by the ear loops and put the loops around each ear.
Face masks with ties: Bring the mask to your nose and place the ties over your head to secure with a tie.
Face masks with bands: Hold the mask to your nose and pull the top strap over the crown of your head and pull the bottom strap over your head so it fits at the nape of your neck. Pull the mask over your mouth and chin.Mask is a part of life now. But, we still miss the smiles of our friends and colleagues. One of the things that I miss the most is the warmth of a smile. It starts with my routine morning when I offer salah at home instead of the mosque and I am unable to see my neighbour smiling. I cannot even recognise the people in the park anymore. It’s the same on my journey to work, with the fellow mates driving alongside offering covert smiles. It’s the same when I enter the office, where even my fellow colleagues don’t exchange visible smiles with me. Why? Because it’s now hidden behind the ubiquitous mask. The onset of Covid-19 established a new set of health advisories; the need to practise social distancing; the necessity of washing or sanitising hands frequently and the absolute and unarguable requirement to wear a mask. Nothing much was known about this new pandemic.
Wearing of masks is now the new normal, blurring all divides.
It brought with it sudden deaths. The advisory catalysed a panic buying spree for masks. Medical shops were witness to serpentine queues to buy masks which in turn choked the supply of this essential item to healthcare workers adding to their stress. Its cruel nature made the public understand how much the infection is lethal and showed people how to make masks at home, thereby easing the supply of surgical masks to doctors and healthcare personnel. As time went on and the initial panic gave way to acceptance, the world started limping back to normal. Businesses restarted with novel regulations. The only thing that remained constant was the mask. Masks have now become an essential accessory in our lives. The wedding season provides the icing on the cake for all fashion brands as that is the only time when customers are willing to invest copious amounts of money in haute couture and designer lines without quibbling over the price tags. The mask has made its way into that shopping list with a range of designer options. Wearing of masks is now the new normal, blurring all divides. To further emphasis the importance, it has been made a punishable offence not to wear one. More importantly, it’s a sign of civic responsibility for all citizens; not wearing one is a mark of irresponsibly. It’s said that you are what expression you wear. Let’s all wear a mask.
(The author is a teacher at J&K School Education Department. Views are his own) [email protected]

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