By now, grabbing a protective face mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19 along with your keys, phone and purse as you're leaving the house is (almost) second nature. But new guidance published by the World Health Organisation (WHO) has shared that when it comes to rainy days, we all need to be packing a spare face covering too...
Why is that? Well, it turns out that rain can inhibit the effectiveness of a face mask to such an extent that WHO are warning you should switch to a fresh one should yours become damp (and hey, given that we live in the UK and it's very much autumn right now, that could well happen).
"All masks should be changed if wet or visibly soiled; a wet mask should not be worn for an extended period of time. Replace masks as soon as they become damp with a new clean, dry mask," says the WHO.
This advice has also been echoed by the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC), who say on their website that the general public should "change [a] face covering if it becomes damp or if you’ve touched it." Is anybody shocked, but also very glad to know this? It's definitely not something we'd fully considered until now.
Speaking to The Times about this very issue, Tim Spector, a professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London, said this news ought to be communicated to the general public at large. "It would now be useful if clear advice were issued to the public. Masks need to be changed regularly and this is particularly important to understand in damp and wet weather."
If you're on the lookout for a new mask, may we suggest checking out our ever-updated round-up of the best ones on the market?
The information in this story is accurate as of the publication date. While we are attempting to keep our content as up-to-date as possible, the situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic continues to develop rapidly, so it's possible that some information and recommendations may have changed since publishing. For any concerns and latest advice, visit the World Health Organisation. If you're in the UK, the National Health Service can also provide useful information and support, while US users can contact the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
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