Wearing of masks, gloves not necessary for healthy people – Health Promotions Officer
THE WEARING OF MASKS and gloves by healthy members of the public as a precautionary measure against Covid-19 is unnecessary and might potentially put other persons at risk.
“You don’t need a mask,” Health Promotions Officer, Shanika John told the audience at a Covid-19 forum held by the Chamber of Industry and Commerce and Ministry of Health on Monday.
“The N95 mask is specific for health care providers who would care for persons who are infected,” she informed, while the “regular” masks are for persons who are infected, who wear them to limit the transmission to others.
“If you have someone in your establishment who wears a mask from 8 to 4, they are potentially putting you and other persons at risk, simply because that mask is not clean,” John warned.
“They move it up and down, “Oh wey you say?”, and they put it back up,” she explained, but when wearing masks there is a proper method to be adopted in order to take them off, and there are rules on how often they should be disposed of. John also said that if one washes one’s hands, and avoids touching one’s face, there is no need for gloves. “I’m not talking about the people who actually need to wear a glove for their job. I’m talking about the people who just want it as a precautionary measure now,” she added.
If you wear gloves all day, but you still have habits such as itching your head, or fixing clothes, there will still be transmission, John expounded.
Further, the correct procedure for an infected person to adopt if they suspect that they may be infected with the coronavirus is to remain where you are in a room by themselves and the medical personnel will come for the individual.
“If you send them to A& E(Accident and Emergency), you’re shutting down our A& E,” the Health Promotions officer cautioned. This action would be putting others at risk, including young children, asthmatic patients, and pregnant women who may be seeking medical attention at the time.
“You’re putting so many other Vincentians at risk. Stay where you are, call first, and we would advise you accordingly,” she stated. Further, one is warned not to call the ambulance to pick up the person either.
“Some persons would say oh we call, we call and we ain get no answer. A& E line is always, most of the time, unless someone else is on the call – available. So call ahead,” John assured.”
Also on hand at the forum was Dr Charmaine Bailey- Rodgers, a medical epidemiologist, who explained what will happen to the human body once infected.
As with any other infections, she said, the body will produce antibodies to fight COVID-19, and these will travel to the site of the infection, which in the case of the Coronavirus is the lung.
“But there’s a whole action that goes on there in trying to get to the virus to destroy it, it’s like there is an explosion,” the doctor explained, but there are so many antibodies that go to the site, that is causes the destruction of the lungs.
This results in pneumonia like symptoms.
However, studies also show that if someone’s body is recovering, having successfully eradicated the virus, but there is a second infection, the antibodies, being prepared, will attack viciously.
“What happens is that they not only attack the viral cell, they attack the normal cells too and that is what causes the problem, and it not only attacks the lung, it attacks all the organs. It produces what we call multi organ failure and death,” she stated.