Is using a mask really necessary? Is using a mask really necessary?

“Sold out masks” or “we don’t have any more masks” were some of the signs that could be read in the windows of specialized shops when the first news came out about the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

This reopened the debate about using masks and in what cases it is really effective. According to the Pan American Health Organization, “scientific studies have shown that it is only effective for protecting health workers and reducing the risk of sick patients spreading the illness.” It is not necessary to use masks all the time to protect yourself from a virus like COVID-19, especially if you do not have any symptoms.

You might also be interested in: Washing hands, key in facing COVID-19

In the specific case of coronavirus, the WHO recommends wearing masks for those who have respiratory symptoms (cough, sneezing, or difficulty breathing), and when going to the doctor to avoid spreading it to others. Masks are also recommended for those who are giving medical attention to people with respiratory symptoms as well as health workers when they enter a room with patients or when they are treating someone with respiratory symptoms.

When using a mask, it is important to use it correctly and not make mistakes such as: only covering your mouth, removing it to talk to another person, putting it on your neck or on your head, or using it and keeping it in the pocket of your jacket or pants.