The onset of the covid pandemic called for drastic behavioral changes. Every now and then, new variants arise, causing spikes in daily caseload and concern among the general public. To avoid any other surges we need to collectively ensure that we continue to follow covid appropriate behavior. Wear our masks when out in public, maintain hand hygiene and isolate when we start showing any flu-like symptoms. These three simple steps can help us dodge another anxiety-inducing covid wave.

Few things compare to the sorrow we experience when our children fall ill. The ongoing pandemic has only added to our worries. Parents are constantly on the lookout for the best ways to keep their children safe and protected. In addition to ensuring that they have a healthy immune system by taking extra care of their diet,
we now want to equip our munchkins with the best protective gear, such as the best quality masks. Experts believe that mass vaccination is our best defense against the novel coronavirus. With vaccines rolling out in a staggered manner for kids and teens, the only protection our kids have are face masks.

The market is filled with different types of masks from surgical to cloth masks. However, none of them are appropriate for every situation. Surgical masks provide better protection than any cloth mask. Masks with attached respirators like KN95 and N95 offer more protection than a cloth and a disposable mask. The government mandate advised double masking as a way of shielding oneself against the new variation during the initial phase of the Omicron surge. When worn correctly and of the correct material, masks have proven to provide good protection against the spread of the virus. Wearing the right mask can prevent us from catching highly transmissible variants like Omicron.

Although vaccinated folks are also likely to get infected with coronavirus, unvaccinated people are more prone to developing a serious case of covid and have a higher chance of spreading it. With schools reopening, we must teach our children how to keep the virus at bay in order to protect themselves and those around them. One way to do so is by choosing the right mask for them. In this blog we will talk about 4 things we need to keep in mind while buying a mask for your child –

1.  Help choose a mask according to occasion 

A mask should be worn irrespective of the covid circumstances around us. The new variant, although mild, is highly infectious and wearing a mask can substantially lower our chances of catching the virus. However, after two years of living with this virus, we can sometimes choose to make some informed alterations to what kind of mask we wear. You may, for example, allow your child to wear a simple fabric mask or a disposable mask when visiting a neighbouring park. Maintain social distance from other people walking in the same park as you. While traveling in public transport, especially those that lack any proper air circulation like airplanes, air conditioned trains and buses, advise your child to wear a proper K95 or N95 mask for long-term protection.

2.  Comfort is the key 

While masks with respirators like KN95 & N95 provide the most protection as opposed to cloth and surgical masks, it is important to keep in mind that unless comfortable, it is unlikely that your child will keep their mask on for a long time. Given that wearing a mask is always preferable to not wearing one, work with your child to find out which mask works the best for them, a mask that they can wear consistently.

Comfort is the key and your child should be able to breathe comfortably while wearing their mask. Ask your child to wear their mask for short spurts so that they can gradually transition to wearing it for a longer period of time. You can also experiment with different kinds of masks to see what actually works for them best, comfort wise. Try a different style, tie style, size, fit or material.

3. Wear it in the right technique

Simply put, no matter how expensive or top-grade mask you purchase for your child, it will not provide its guaranteed protection unless it is worn correctly. Masks, whether cloth, surgical or the ones with the attached respirators, should properly cover one’s entire mouth and nose. It should fit the bridge of your nose snugly. It is critical that our child wears their mask whenever they are in public or in close proximity to other people. It is our responsibility to teach children how to properly wear a mask. Additionally, do not let your child overuse the same set of surgical or cloth masks as they lose their effectiveness after several uses. You can also speak to your family doctor or your child’s pediatrician for accurate mask guidance.

4. Maintain mask hygiene

Along with helping them to choose the right mask, it is also important for the parents to teach our children about mask hygiene. If we are careless with our masking practice, we are in danger of catching the virus and spreading it around us. Following are the key things we need to teach our kids –

1)Always sanitise your hands before putting on your mask
2)Similarly, always wash your hands thoroughly after you remove your mask
3)Never touch the front side of your mask
4)Avoid touching your mask over and over
5)Always keep your clean and dirty masks separately
6)Do not wear dirty masks; either discard it or wash it with disinfectants

With the sharp decline in covid instances, some governments are loosening their covid prohibitions, while others, such as Scotland, are removing all restrictions. This can be a serious concern for our children’s safety, given the majority of them are unvaccinated, and being around maskless adults will only raise their risk. Now more than ever we need to ensure that our children are masked up. While experts suggest that children below the age of 2 should not wear any face coverings as it may obstruct their breathing, we parents need to keep following all the right covid guidelines when it comes to our kids including helping them choose the right mask.

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