Face masks - a little discomfort is a small price to pay to suppress Covid-19 in Donegal

A view of Donegal through the coronavirus crisis by Siobhán McNamara

face mask

It looks like face masks are a fact of life that we must embrace

As time goes on, it looks more and more likely that the wearing of face masks in public will become mandatory.

Or if not mandatory, then at least strongly advised.

In the earlier days of the coronavirus crisis, government thinking seemed to be that they were a bad idea. Reasons cited involved people touching the mask in the area most likely to be contaminated, and the risk of creating a false sense of security.

Throughout the last few months of the crisis, more and more people have taken to wearing masks. I have watched with interest, wondering if it will indeed become something that we will all do as a matter of course.

Being a bit claustrophobic, I was relieved that there was no big push to wear them. I felt that as long as I respected the two-metre distancing and other guidelines, it wouldn’t make much difference. 

I often noticed those wearing them touch the mask, or pull it down for a while, or wear it without covering their nose.

But now we are being asked to wear masks to help keep the transmission of Covid-19 from increasing. I therefore decided that the time had come to give it a go. My first effort was deeply uncomfortable and I didn’t even make it from the car to the supermarket door before being overcome by the need to remove the mask. I felt like I was being suffocated, despite loosening the area over the mouth as much as possible.

For the second attempt, I realised some mental preparation was required and I took a calmer approach. I managed to get round the supermarket and pay for my shopping, but it was very uncomfortable. My glasses kept steaming up and it took a lot of concentration to keep the claustrophobia at bay.

I can see the merits of wearing masks, and if that is the public advice, then so be it. I will make the effort. Having tried the disposable masks, I will now have a go at the fabric variety in the hope that they are more comfortable for those of us who are claustrophobic.

And let’s face it, a little discomfort is a small price to pay if it works. I just hope that a vaccine or cure is found soon. 

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