So the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria through his Aide Garba Shehu has warned Nigerians to comply with the just signed Executive Order which makes face masks wearing in public mandatory. Even though the President has flouted his Executive Order and this has caused outrage in many quarters. But assuming the compliance level is high in the next days and weeks to come, do we usually wear our facemask right? Or do we abuse it? Many of us are on this table, so let’s shake it and break it.
Facemask has become part of apparels and fashion accessories in this strange times. It is quite fashionable to see pictures of people wearing face masks. Also videos of public events and gatherings always depicts all or some people wearing facemasks.
Many businesses wouldn’t let you in, if you do not wear a face mask. Big supermarkets such as SPAR, and malls such as Novare mall would out rightly demand that you show them your facemasks before you enter their premises. However, the market place which is usually crowded does not enforce the require facemasks, therefore each person owes his or herself a collective responsibility to wear a facemask in places like the market and also educate the market women and men on the use of facemasks. Some people are of the opinion that there is no covid19 in Nigeria, notwithstanding that Nigeria has passed the 100,000 benchmark of infected people and trust me, the numbers might be more but due to our poor record keeping, we can never tell. While another lockdown is not looming because the economy is too weak to bear the brunt, the use of facemask has been made compulsory by virtue of the President’s Executive Order.
Since the outbreak of the covid19 pandemic, we have seen all kinds of facemasks, from the surgical face masks, to the plain cloth looking face masks, to branded facemasks such as made in Nigeria Gucci face masks, beaded facemasks, Ankara facemasks, branded black facemasks with names of the owner or other fanciful words embroidered on it.
Notwithstanding all these beautiful and well-crafted facemasks, do we really know the use of facemasks? The earliest facemasks can be traced back to the 6th century and in the 1920s surgical facemasks were used in the operating room. The essence of having and using a facemask in this perilous times is to curb the spread of covid19, although there are a lot of debate going on in the scientific world on the efficiency and efficacy of long term face mask wearing. Facemasks also lower the contamination of indoor air.
Facemask is inconvenient for those who wear eye glasses because the steam from their breath blows up to the glasses creating steam which obstructs the eye sight. Besides that, a face mask is extremely inconvenient where the fabric used for making it is very thick, then breathing through such mask will become a difficulty.
How do you wear your facemask? Do you wear it properly or do you abuse it. Using a facemask means covering your mouth and nose with the mask.
Facemask abuse on the other hand arises from the improper use of face masks such as:
- When you do not cover your nose with the face mask, you are abusing it
- When you wear the facemask on your chin, you are abusing it;
- When you wear the facemask at the back of your head or on your hands, you are abusing it.
- When you do not dispose the disposable face mask but use over and over for several ; days ( you are abusing it);
- When you do not wash your facemask after use, you are abusing it.
Abusing a face mask has serious health implications because the facemask protects you and your immediate environment from breathable pollutant such as viral pathogen organisms.
Many of us are guilty of the chin wearing method of the facemask, but I hope with this we would have a rethink and discipline ourselves to wear the face mask properly no matter how inconveniencing that would be.
By the way, there is a six(6) months imprisonment for those who flaunts the President’s Executive Order.