At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, people were told not to wear face masks unless they are sick, caring for a sick person who is unable to wear one or working in health care.
The rules changed though. Now we’re told to wear face masks as the virus was seen to be spread by pre-symptomatic & asymptomatic carriers. Still, there are a questions and this is why we’ve put together this article to help you learn all you need to know about wearing and handling masks properly.
- Why are masks important?
The primary benefit of covering your nose and mouth is that if you cough or sneeze, the face mask can catch those respiratory droplets so they don’t land on other people or surfaces. It’s not just about protecting you, but also about protecting your neighbour and vice versa.
Masks, when worn properly have the potential to benefit people both ways.
- What masks are most effective?
The best masks are N95 respirators, but the general public is urged not to use them because they are fiercely needed by health care workers right now. Same goes for surgical masks — those thin blue models. They offer less protection but are helpful and are also in short supply.
- How can masks fail?
Your mask won’t protect you if you don’t use it correctly. Don’t touch the front. Don’t adjust it. Don’t push it down somehow to get your nose stuck out.
It’s a big no-no to pull the mask down to eat a snack, then pull it back up: You’ve just gotten whatever dirty stuff is on the mask on your hands & into your mouth.
- What’s the best way to remove your mask?
You should always take off your mask by removing the elastics or straps from behind your ears. Don’t touch the front.
Once you remove your mask, put it into the laundry basket immediately if it’s a cloth mask. If it’s disposable, throw it away.
- Do you need extra protection when wearing masks?
Ideally you would have eye protection because eyes are a vulnerable route. Glasses and sunglasses aren’t perfect but they can help.
- What’s the best design for a homemade mask?
There is little data so far on cloth or homemade masks in general but the best material to use is 100% tight-weave cotton. You can make a mask out of a T-shirt too. Don’t use a synthetic or polyester because they’ve looked at the virus’s ability to survive on surfaces, and spandex is the worst.
No matter what material you use, try to make it fit closely to your face and don’t touch the front once you’ve started wearing it.
- Any other mask hygiene tips?
If you use cloth masks, have more than one so you can wear a fresh one each time you go out.
Also, think of a mask as you would underwear: It needs to be washed after each use. You don’t take this dirty mask off, put it in your purse and then stick it back on your face.
If you’re wearing a mask in public, it means you’re concerned about your neighbours and strangers on the chance that you’re infectious. You’re making an effort to limit how you might impact others and vice versa.
Never leave home without your mask and ensure you maintain the highest standards of mask hygiene as you go out daily.
This is not the time to be playing Future’s ‘Mask Off’ (Dad joke, we know).