How to make a cloth mask to be effective, according to the WHO

In these times, the use of masks it has become a fundamental element in the fight against the coronavirus. The main medical organizations in the world structure their strategy to fight against covid-19 in three fundamental elements: the first and main, andl social distancing, the most effective measure to avoid contagion; the second, the hand hygiene on a regular basis; and, the third, the use of this facial protection… Although it is not always as effective as it should be.

Thus, the World Health Organization (WHO) explains that it is essential to use the mask, although it stresses that it is not the main element to take into account when avoiding the transmission of coronavirus. The different types of masks that can be used are well known and what level of protection both from the outside and towards us each one of them has. However, one type of mask in particular is the one that raises the most doubts: that of cloth. Sometimes, because it is more aesthetic and, sometimes, because we have made it for ourselves, we have this type of protection, but now the WHO explains how to make it protect us.

According to WHO experts, not everything not all cloth masks meet the minimum requirements to be effective against the coronavirus. Maria van Kerkhove, head of the WHO zoonosis and emerging diseases unit, assured that her body has commissioned a series of studies to analyze what these masks should have, stating that they must have three fundamental elements: one first internal layer to absorb, a intermediate layer acting as a filter and one outer layer made of a non-absorbent material, such as polyester.

If a cloth mask has these three well differentiated layers, will be effective in preventing both the spread and spread of covid-19, becoming a mechanical barrier that slows down the transmission. In case of not having these three elements, it will lose its effectiveness significantly, even influencing the importance of wearing it in spite of it, because it is always more important to have minimal protection than not wearing absolutely nothing.

Similarly, from the WHO they emphasize the importance of the use of a mask both inCommunity broadcast areas as in environments where the physical distancing is difficult, such as supermarkets or public transport. It also informs of the need to use it by the at-risk populations and also in hospital settings although they may be covid-19 free zones, as they explain in their guide on the use of masks.

"The masks alone will not protect us from the covid-19, since they are not a replacement for physical distancing, hand hygiene, and other public health measures. Masks are only beneficial as part of a comprehensive approach to fighting disease. The cornerstone of the response in each country should be find, isolate, evaluate and attend to each case, and track and quarantine each contact. That's what we know works, "he explains. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesussaid the WHO director-general.

It is important to note that the WHO highlights that the mask is simply an additional protection against the coronavirus, but that the two main elements to take into account are keeping distance and hygiene. Despite this, they affect the importance of maintaining the care of the mask and, in the event that it is no longer effective, discard it and opt for a new one. Furthermore, they explain the importance of do not touch your face with the mask on: doing so can cause the virus to reach our hands and, from there, introduce it into our body by touching our face, creating a focus of contagion that we had avoided thanks to the mask.