Background: The first reported case of COVID in all of India was in Thrissur, Kerala. Kerala was one among the states which had high recovery rate, low death rate and slow progression which was recognized internationally in managing and controlling the COVID-19 pandemic. For efficient control of transmission of COVID 19, mask wearing was considered as primary and popular measure. Wearing mask everytime can cause discomfort and prolonged mask usage can lead to many health impacts. Mask wearing can be made comfortable and convenient, if the discomforts and health impacts of wearing mask are worked on in future.
Objective: To study perceptions and behavioural traits related to mask usage in general population of Kerala, India.
Methods: An online cross sectional study was conducted in Kerala among 291 adults aged 20 to 60 years with a validated questionnaire. Data was analysed with Pearson’s Chi square and Odds ratio.
Results: Majority of the participants were self-motivated, though 90% of participants reported mild discomforts, yet more than 80% were inclined to proper mask wearing practice. Among the participants, 77% washed and reused masks, more than 49% changed their face touching behavior, 67 % were inspired by family and friends in wearing mask. Older participants (greater than 40 years) had higher knowledge level of mask use (98%) and wearing masks outdoors (92.8%), lesser preference for N95 mask and double mask compared to younger participants.
Conclusion: Study reinforces hypothesis of mask use efficacy in controlling and reducing pandemic spread. Community perceptions and behavioural traits study can enhance planning and implementation of public health programs.
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