Face Masks: The Do’s & Don’ts

The Do’s & Don’ts

The Do’s of a Mask

• Do wear your mask whenever you are leaving your house

• Do stay 6 feet away from the next person when in public

• Do clean your hands before wearing your mask when you touch it and after removing it

• Do wear your mask at home if living with an aged person or one whose immunity is compromised

• Do ensure your mask fits snugly, leaving not even a tiny gap.

• Do ensure your mask has multiple layers of fabric and you can breathe comfortably through it.

• Do wash your reusable mask regularly with warm water and detergent then dry it completely

The Don’ts of a Face Mask

• Don’t hang the mask on one of your ears; put it on your forehead, around your neck, or anywhere else apart from covering your nose and mouth

• Don’t touch the front of the mask because that part is contaminated. If you do, make sure you wash your hand with soap and water or use a sanitizer.

• Don’t leave your nose out when wearing the mask. Cover it together with your mouth for maximum protection

• Don’t cover any child below the age of two with a facemask or anyone who has trouble breathing or cannot take off the mask by themselves.

• Don’t use medical-grade masks. They are scarce and only reserved for health workers and other medical responders.

• Don’t push your mask down around your chin or neck when eating or drinking. Follow the mask removing procedure and put the mask aside. Once you are done, follow the mask-wearing procedure and have it back.

• Don’t wear torn, soiled, saturated, or any other mask that is not in good condition

• Don’t touch your eyes before cleaning your hands or using a sanitizer. Your eyes are an entry point for the virus

• Don’t be confident with the mask alone. Keep social distance and clean your hands often. You can still get infected if you get close to an infected person, even when wearing a mask.

• Don’t go out when you are feeling unwell, such as when you have a fever or are coughing

A face mask acts as a barrier to help prevent the wearer’s respiratory droplets from reaching the other person. Respiratory droplets are released into the air when you talk, sing, sneeze, shout, or cough. If the respiratory droplets contain viruses or germs, you are likely to infect the next person. Because of the current coronavirus pandemic, the UK government requires wearing masks in public such as social gatherings, public and mass transportation, and any other places where people meet.

Types of Masks and How They Work

Cloth masks

Cloth or fabric masks should include multiple layers of fabric. A cloth mask traps the droplets of the wearer from getting to the other person. It can be washed and reused. The spread of covid-19 can be slowed down if everybody wears a mask while in public.

Surgical/medical masks

This mask protects your mouth and nose from contact with splashes, droplets, or sprays that may contain germs. It may also protect others from exposure to your saliva and respiratory secretions. Surgical masks can be used in place of N95 masks for protection against coronavirus.

N95 masks

An N95 mask compared to a surgical mask offers better protection against airborne particles like germs and viruses. The mask can filter out both large and small particles when inhaling. As the name suggests, this mask filters 95 percent of very small particles. Just like surgical face masks masks, they are intended to be disposed of after use. N95 masks have been proven to reduce the inhalation of contaminated air during outbreaks of respiratory illnesses and intense air pollution.

Steps to Follow When Wearing/Removing Your Mask

Wearing Your Mask

For the mask to effectively protect you, you need to wear it correctly. Below is a step by step guide on how you should wear your mask

  • Before you touch the mask, make sure your hands are clean— wash your hands with soap and water or use a hand sanitizer. Now that your hands are clean, you can go ahead and remove the mask from its box.
  • Check both sides of the mask to ensure it does not have any tears or holes.
  • Determine which side of the mask is top and which one is bottom. Also, check to see which part will face inside. The colored side of the mask is usually meant to face outside.
  • Depending on your type of face mask, follow one of the following instructions.
  • For a mask with ear loops, hold the ear loops and place it on your ears
  • For a mask with bands, use your fingertips to hold the nosepiece then bring it to the level of your nose. Pull the top strap over your head, ensuring it rests well over the crown of your head, then the bottom strap over your head again so that it rests at the nape of your neck.
  • For a mask with ties, bring the mask to your nose’s level, then secure the top ties in a bow over the crown of your head and the bottom ties in a bow at the nape of your neck
  • Whichever mask you wear, pull it over your mouth and chin to ensure it covers you properly
  • For ease of breathing, pinch the top of your mask’s stiff edge to the shape of your nose.

Removing Your Mask

  • Wash your hands, or use a sanitizer, then follow one of the following instructions based on your type of face mask
  • For the one with ear loops, hold both ear loops, then remove the mask.
  • For the one with bands, start by lifting the bottom strap over your head then the top strap
  • For the one with ties, untie the bottom bow before the top
  • Throw the mask in the dustbin, then wash your hands or use a sanitizer.

A facemask combined with other preventive measures such as frequently cleaning your hands and keeping social distance helps slow down the spread of coronavirus. Remember, not all people who have the virus have symptoms. As such, it’s always important to always be wary of how you conduct yourself when in gatherings. No one is immune to the virus.

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