Ever since last night Karachi and Pakistan’s first confirmed Coronavirus case surfaced, there has been a frenzy over everything related to the epidemic. While it is true that the situation is serious and one must take all precautions to keep themselves safe, it is not a do or die situation and things shouldn’t go haywire for it.
But what happened in a situation of chaos has yet again happened as pharmacies and mafias have collaborated to surge the price of masks in the market and at most places, they aren’t even available due to stock hoarding.
First and foremost, one must know that there are two types of masks: surgical masks (the simple ones) and N-95 masks.
Now basically N-95 masks are currently unavailable in the market or available at a whopping Rs500 per piece kind of price. This has caused a frenzy among the public who assumes these masks to be the only protection against Coronavirus.
However, let’s break it to you. According to health experts, N-95 masks despite their usefulness aren’t what uninfected people need.
While these masks are a necessity for those suffering from the Coronavirus (as it filters 95% air particles hence prevent the flow of infection from the carrier), these masks are not required to be worn by those merely trying to avoid the disease.
Secondly, these masks are dense and it might not be possible for the general public to breathe easily in them. In case you wear them and breathe easily, you are definitely wearing it wrong.
On the other hand, surgical masks are presumably still available in certain parts of the country, it is their skyrocketed price that will at first shock you. A pack previously available for Rs300 to Rs500 is now available somewhere between Rs1700 to Rs2200.
These masks, however, will come in handy if you wish to avoid the infectious droplets from getting into contact with you and wear them outside at all times to keep yourself safe from sneezing, coughing and wheezing people around.
Albeit that they cannot contain air particles, the good news is that Coronavirus does not spread with air particles but only with physical touch with an infected person and/or catching the infectious droplets that release as a result of cough or sneeze.
So to summarize, if you can get your hands on surgical masks you are good to go and the shortage of N-95 masks isn’t something you should be fretting over. Instead, focus on your hygiene, wash hands rigorously, keep a sanitizer on you at all times and avoid physical contact like hugs and handshakes in public. Also, ask those suffering from flu or cold to wear surgical masks in order to contain the virus to themselves.
All the necessary measures will help you keep safe even if you do not wear masks.