Sunday Mail - Body and Soul

WHAT ROLE WILL MASKS PLAY IN A POST-COVID WORLD?

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Masks have now been part of our lives for 12 months, but even as the restrictio­ns ease and the vaccinatio­n rollout continues, medical experts say it’s important that the lessons we’ve learnt aren’t undone

AVOID GOING VIRAL

“Everybody’s had a crash course in virology,” doctor and television presenter Dr Andrew Rochford tells Body+Soul, adding that our wider understand­ing of how viruses work combined with common sense can help us be “more efficient at managing the viral load within the community”. This should include rememberin­g that a virus is easily passed from your hands to your face, and knowing when to be extra cautious, such as in enclosed spaces with a high density of people.

KNOW YOUR HYGIENE 101

We’ve heard the advice a million times in the past year: wash your hands properly and frequently, wear a mask, and isolate if you’re sick. But Rochford wants these habits to outlive the pandemic. “We should embrace the idea of doing these simple things when we get any type of virus,” he says. “You’ll be sick less if you protect other people, and other people do the same. It’s a fairly altruistic way of working in the world.”

BE A MASKED CRUSADER

Many people initially wore masks to shield themselves from others with COVID, but Rochford would like to see our core motivation for wearing them change. “What I hope is there’s a move towards more of a society that now understand­s that wearing a mask [even when we have a cold or the flu] is something that not only benefits ourselves, but also the broader community.”

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