Should my kids wear a mask… and should I if no one else does? DR ELLIE CANNON answers your questions on coronavirus
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I’ve decided to wear a home-made mask when I go to places where it is hard to keep a distance, such as the supermarket. But should my children be doing the same?
A makeshift face-covering stops you from passing on the virus if you are infected, even if you don’t have any symptoms or haven’t started showing them yet.
This is really important, as it has been estimated that as many as eight in ten people who have been infected with the virus are asymptomatic.
Children can pass on the virus too, so it is a good idea for them to wear a mask as well.
A family with mother and children wearing face masks amid the coronavirus outbreak. A makeshift face-covering stops you from passing on the virus if you are infected (file photo)
It’s not normal, for most of us, to wear a face covering, and children may initially find them uncomfortable. The trick will be making sure they fit as well as possible, to minimise the amount of fiddling (and moaning) they do.
It might help to involve them in making theirs. There are some amazing cloths printed with cartoon characters available online, and get them to help you assemble it – as I demonstrated in last week’s Mail on Sunday.
Is it OK to reuse a cloth mask if I’m careful not to touch the outside when I put it down?
No. It has to be cleaned after every use. This is because you may have picked up the virus and touched your mask without realising. Wearing it again could increase your risk of infection. As soon as the cloth becomes damp, or feels wet, you should also replace it.
After you take off your mask, wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand gel. The mask can be dropped into a soapy solution, such as washing-up liquid or handwash, and cleaned before allowing it to dry thoroughly.
No one else seems to be wearing masks. Is there any point in me doing it?
Yes, there absolutely is. Research suggests the more people who wear a mask, the lower the transmission rate would be. If 80 per cent of the population wears a cloth face covering, we could stop the spread of the disease.
So there’s no excuse not to, really. We can all play our part, and it could mean we get back to normality a bit quicker too.
A generic image of P2 masks. After you take off your mask, wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand gel, writes Dr Ellie Cannon (file photo)
If my mother, who lives alone, gets Covid-19, will I be able to go to visit and look after her? And what about visiting her in hospital?
Ideally, people living alone should not have visitors. But if your mother is vulnerable, it would be sensible to go around and check on her.
This might mean leaving supplies or cooked food at her door. You could also keep an eye out for any changes to her condition by video-calling her.
It is worth setting this up now – just in case. If a loved one ends up in hospital with Covid-19, visiting depends on the ward rules and the circumstances.
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