The coronavirus pandemic altered people’s daily lifestyle. It takes some time to get used to, including the mandatory use of face masks. Perhaps you have experienced going outside only to go back in as you forgot to wear one.
For some of us, donning a mask is necessary as required by our respective jobs and has become second nature. Others, however, such as family members and patients, need time to get accustomed to the new changes in lifestyle.
Wearing a face mask is imperative, especially when in close proximity to other people. Public health experts agree that wearing one can minimize the spread of COVID-19. While authorities have implemented wearing one, especially in public, it is still surprising to see people wearing masks in various styles.
Keep in mind that wearing a mask to prevent catching the virus will only be effective if worn correctly.
How Can Face Masks Prevent COVID-19 from Spreading?
The World Health Organization recommends widespread wearing of face masks to prevent further transmission.
While many still debate its effectiveness, it indeed acts as a barrier to preventing the virus’s spread. The question is, “how?”.
As COVID-19 is a respiratory virus, it spreads through droplets that leave the nose or mouth when we talk, sneeze, cough, and even sing. Meaning, if you are close with someone infected and are not wearing a mask, it is like an open invitation to acquire the virus.
Whether going to the grocery store, pharmacy, or traveling on public transportation, it is imperative to cover the face in general settings. Otherwise, there will be a high risk of being infected. Similarly, you can protect others, given that you are already a carrier of the virus as it blocks the respiratory droplets between people nearby.
In simpler terms, you are protecting yourself and other people with who you come in contact. Since the virus symptoms are often delayed, you never know how quickly you and others can get infected.
In today’s situation, where we feel like we have very little control, it is a small way to prevent the spread of the virus and show others that we care.
For a mask to be effective, it is crucial to be used correctly. Below are some of the dos and don’ts of wearing a face mask.
- Do choose the right mask.
Some masks work better than others. At the very least, wear cotton made of two or more layers. Surgical masks, also known as medical masks, are the most common option. Both types can act as a protective barrier to prevent breathing in respiratory droplets from an infected person. You may also prefer using single-use masks or disposable ones.
- Do wear the mask covering your mouth and nose with a snug fit.
As the masks serve as a protective barrier for your respiratory system and the outside world, they should cover the mouth and nose without gaps but comfortable for the face. You might be surprised to see how many people leave their masks dangling in one ear or placed under the chin. Some commercials masks have loose staps, and some may have varying sizes. Pick one that will suit you best.
- Do wash your hands before putting on your mask and again after removing it.
Whether you are using a cloth or surgical mask, it is essential to have clean hands before putting on the mask. In contrast to people’s belief that wearing a mask keeps them protected, it might be untrue should they come in contact with someone infected and their hands are not clean. Additionally, many bacteria and organisms might reside either in front of the mask and back, so washing the hands after taking them off is also important.
- Do Ensure The Mask is Comfortable and Breathable
It is essential to choose a mask that you can wear for a prolonged period without getting uncomfortable. Also, it should be able to let you breathe comfortably and talk without much difficulty. Do not pick masks with materials that can irritate your skin and ensure it is a good fit. Otherwise, a loose strap can provide inconvenience from continually having to adjust them. Likewise, too tight straps can also be uncomfortable.
Other important reminders:
- Do wear masks whenever in a public setting.
- Do continue to practice social distancing, even with face masks, at least 6 feet away from others.
- Do Not Touch The Mask After Putting it on
Ensuring that your mask fits appropriately means you do not have to adjust it later. Always touching the mask can contaminate it and your hands, given that your hands are not clean. It is natural to feel itchy sometimes, and you should resist the temptation to scratch your face or mask if you are unable to clean your hands immediately.
- Do Not Pull Down the Mask to Talk
In doing so, you will defeat the primary purpose of a facemask. When it is necessary, especially when eating, remove it entirely and perform hygiene. Only then should you put it back snugly when finished.
- Do Not Let Masks Provide False Sense of Security
While wearing a mask is a natural protection against the virus, you can still get infected if you lower your guard. Wearing one does not mean you have to drop all other preventive measures.
Consider Personal Protective Equipment or PPE that you can carry anywhere with you. PPE Care Kits by PPE Company Care comes with two masks, one FFP2 and the other 3PLY mask. It also includes disposable gloves, hand sanitizers, and antibacterial wipes—all of which you might need in any situation, keeping you protected and safe from potential infection.
- Do Not Use Medical-Grade Masks
According to CDC, medical grade-masks should be reserved for healthcare workers and other first medical responders as it is often critical in supply.
Other important reminders:
- Do not put a mask on a child under two years of age, have trouble breathing, unconscious, or incapacitated.
- Do not wear a mask that is not clean, or that is soiled, damaged, or has any distortions in shape and form.