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Masks have now become an essential part of our lives. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: It is a new world we live in. Wearing a mask all the time when we are out is just part of our daily gear. But are we wearing the right masks?

Dr Lekha Kapoor, ENT Specialist, Medcare Hospital, Sharjah, said wearing cloth masks or 3-ply surgical masks helps a great deal when it comes to breathing right.

Dr Lekha Kapoor

Kapoor said cloth masks are more “breathable” and they do not carry the risk of contracting the virus as it will not be able to seep through.

As for allergies, cloth masks are well suited too. Kapoor advised people who have long hours of work and need to wear a mask all day long to step out of their office environment every now and then and go to an open area and remove the mask to take a deep breath.

“Just maintain social distance at all times. Do not stand close to people while not wearing a mask at such intervals.”

For those with nasal disorders, Kapoor advised the use of a nasal spray every now and then. “It helps in getting rid of any possible virus or allergens in the nose. Same with a gargle used for sore throats. Mouthwash helps. So when you wear a mask, you are not in great discomfort.”

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Masks have fast become more than just protective accessories and are being increasingly used as a fashion statement as well. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dr Midhuna Prathap, Specialist ENT Surgeon, Aster Clinic, Abu Hail, said she could not agree more.

“A properly designed cloth mask is good at protecting oneself against the virus. Carbon dioxide can pass through any cloth material. In contrast, coronavirus will not be able to seep through. So it is perfectly alright to just wear the cloth mask.”

Dr Midhuna Prathap

Dr Kapoor advised people not to speak loudly or shout while talking.

“Every time we utter just a couple of words, we spray thousands of aerosol droplets, which are mostly invisible to the naked eye, into the air in front of us. When someone is infected with a respiratory virus like the one that causes COVID-19, each aerosol droplet can contain thousands of viral particles, each with the potential to infect others nearby who breathe them in,” she explained.

What residents say

Hassan Khemji, a Dubai resident, said initially it was a little uncomfortable, but now he has become accustomed to wearing a mask all day. “It is a matter of wearing your mask right and breathing normally. There are various options as well with masks — for example cloth masks are a great option to wear for long hours. It is very breathable and you have some nice and trendy masks in multiple colours, designing, some come in bling style too! And they are all comfortable to wear,” he said.

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The expat who works as an administraor for a private company in Dubai said he struggles to breathe sometimes under an N95 mask. “I have to go out and take it off at time. But with a cloth mask it is perfectly alright.”

A Filipina customer care service representative said, “I have nasal problems and it can be an issue to breathe well under a surgical mask. However, I do not have a choice. I have to keep wearing my mask on all the time due to my job profile. So I have cloth masks made of cotton which allows me to breathe easily.”