WHO Recommends Masks

The World Health Organization (WHO) once believed that there wasn’t enough evidence that masks offered protection to suggest healthy people should wear them. They always thought people who were ill, or health care workers, should wear them but didn’t recommend them for the general public. However, as more information has come to light, the WHO has changed its recommendations, especially for places with more people.

In light of evolving evidence,” said WHO director-general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, “the WHO advises that governments should encourage the general public to wear masks where there is widespread transmission and physical distancing is difficult, such as on public transport, in shops or in other confined or crowded environments.”

The new guidelines were created in light of all the research that has been happening around the world. The organization is still urging caution, not wanting people to think that masks are perfect protection, or that means they shouldn’t follow other healthcare advice. Masks are supplementary to social distancing and handwashing. “Masks on their own will not protect you from COVID-19,” said Dr. Tedros.

They suggest people over 60 and people who are at high-risk should wear a medical-grade mask. Everyone else should wear masks with three layers of material. Having said that, many people find it hard to breathe through three layers of material. Some people can’t stand how hot masks make their faces. Any mouth covering is better than none, even if it’s just a bandana or t-shirt mask. There are many instructions sites about how to make them. It can be a sewing project. Use rubber bands, or just tie a piece of cloth to cover your nose and face.     

There are ways to make masks more comfortable. (https://www.cnet.com/health/face-mask-feeling-uncomfortable-heres-what-you-can-do/) If your ears hurt from the straps, consider ones that tie behind your head. Or, you could either make or buy “ear savers.” It's a strap that goes behind your head that connects to your mask, so it doesn’t tug on your ears. They can also be a fun craft. Many of the ones you can buy are homemade so you can do them as a project at home! You want any mask you wear to be snug but not cut off your circulation as that will make you uncomfortable. Moisturizer can make a mask more comfortable and stop it from rubbing, but makeup can make you sweat under your mask.

The WHO warned that the pandemic is “far from over.” We admire the fact that they changed the guidelines. Many of us can become entrenched in one idea and stick with it. Their willingness to admit that the older recommendations weren’t as safe as they should have been is great. We can get through this together. But, we need to be willing to change our ideas and behavior to be safe.
June 15, 2020
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