Since the COVID-19 took over our lives, face masks have grasped attention more than ever! The World Health Organisation recommends wearing masks to prevent the infection apart from maintaining social distancing and hand washing.
A recent study in the Lancet has found that wearing face masks and maintaining proper distance can reduce transmission between persons, and that’s exactly what we want.
There are people of all ages and sizes who can be seen sporting masks of all kinds around us. That is a big sigh of relief but there’s more to it than what meets the eye.
While all of us are wearing masks but not everyone of us is wearing it in the right way and even if we are, some of us are not very particular when it comes to taking care of them.
😷 How to wear a medical mask safely: Do’s and don’ts
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) July 16, 2020
There are some common mistakes we all commit when it comes to face masks:
Your mask only covers your mouth
It is very important to understand that face masks should not only cover your mouth. We may order fancy masks but if it only covers your mouth then it’s not the right choice for sure.
How can your mask protect you if it is half open and you breathe partially or completely through your nose. You might be inhaling viral particles through it. This will not help you in any way!
Plus, a mask that only covers your mouth won’t do much when it comes to containing droplets if you sneeze because these particles might settle on your mask, and it could be a cause of trouble for you.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends wearing a mask that covers both your nose and mouth, with the mask secured under your chin. Besides that, it should fit your face and there shouldn’t be any large gaps around the nose, mouth, or even the sides of your face.
You keep touching your mask
We all understand that it is not a fun thing to wear a face mask all the time, but we should refrain from touching it all the time! If you touch any part of your face or body that is contaminated with the virus, and if you wear it over your mouth and nose, then you’re at high risk for infection.
You have to make sure that you wash your hands properly before wearing a mask, and once you’re out and about, fight the urge to touch or adjust it. Even when you are not wearing it, don’t just leave it around your neck.
You aren’t cleaning your mask well
Maintaining hygiene is what this pandemic has taught us. It should be our job to maintain hygiene once you remove the mask. If it is a disposable mask then there is no cause for worry. But if you plan to reuse your mask, then make sure it is properly washed. CDC also permits washing of cloth masks in a washing machine.
Let it dry in the sun, once you’re done washing. If your mask is damaged in any way or looks soiled, then don’t use it anymore. Just safely dispose of it in a closed dustbin, and wash your hands properly.
You keep wearing your mask when it’s wet
In a country like India, we often experience hot and humid climates. That means you are likely to sweat a lot when you wear your mask. Due to this, not just the mask feels gross and uncomfortable but it is also not as effective as before.
The WHO health group and a number of experts have stated that face coverings must be replaced if they become damp. It also stated that fabric face masks should consist of at least three layers of a different material.
However, it adds that moisture can compromise this protection.
So, remove your mask gently, throw it away safely, or store it separately, and use a fresh one whenever needed.