Unless you have been previously diagnosed with a serious respiratory illness or you are working personnel of the medical field, you hardly had any interaction or necessity of wearing a face mask. However, the scenario is totally changed now with the current era of coronavirus pandemic when wearing a face mask becomes the necessity for general public protection.
In this context, one important question arises in the mind of every common people and that is whether there is any particular way of put on or put off, as well as to discard the face mask in order to prevent the risk of being exposed to or transmit any infectious disease such as COVID-19 disease. If these are your concerns then you have absolutely visited the right place as here we are going to discuss elaborately that how to use a face mask in order to ensure the best possible protection and health benefit out of its application.
There are many types of face masks for coronavirus but out of them, two are most important, the medical or surgical mask and N95 particle respirator mask which is generally used and needed to be reserved for medical professionals as they have to directly interact with infectious sick patients.
For common people, usage purpose medical mask and one newly popular homemade masks are enough. However, irrespective of the mask type you are using to reduce your risk of contracting the new coronavirus or spreading it to others, first of all, you need to know the right way of using a face mask otherwise, this will no way work as a protective shield on your face. So, keep on reading to get more information and awareness about the right way of using a face mask.
Common Face Mask Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
Before we start discussing on how to use a face mask correctly it is vital that you know about some common mistake that people does while wearing a face mask or while putting it off from the face so that you can avoid those common face masks usage mistakes.
Wash Your Hands Every Time Before and After Wearing the Mask
Wearing a clean and protective face mask is not enough until your hands are well cleaned and sanitized. This is vital because people in general often touches the inside of a mask either for shifting it at proper place or for itching or calming out other discomforts like sweating. So if you touch the inside of a face mask with dirty hands then your protective shield will not remain as protective as it should be.
The aim should be to keep your protective face mask as sanitary as it is possible which you can do by properly washing your hands at least for 20 seconds with soap and water or sanitize it with 60% alcohol rich sanitizer before putting it on your face. Always pick it up with its ties as it avoids your hands touch inside the mask. After putting on the mask the next thing that you need to do is to prevent the cross-contamination incident when you are out of your home place or about to go out.
The incident of cross-contamination occurs when you touch inside the mask or a person or a surface like doorknobs or handles, grocery store’s objects, etc, and then touch your mask. So to prevent cross-contamination, people should avoid touching unnecessary things in a grocery store or any other place which they are not about to purchase. Also do not adjust your mask or touch under your mask after touching any surface, object, or someone.
However, if it is an unavoidable situation where it is a must to adjust your mask while you are wearing it then clean your hands first with soap and water or a sanitizer and then adjust it. While wearing a face mask and gloves you should avoid touching or using your mobile phone. However, if it is urgent to receive or make a call then keep your phone’s speaker on to avoid reaching your hands to mask. After making your phone call, disinfect your mobile phone.
It is necessary to keep your hands clean and sanitized not only while putting on a mask but also after removing it. So wash your hands properly with soap and water or sanitize it with a sanitizer after removing your face mask
Make Sure Your Mask Give Full Coverage to Your Nose and Mouth
The face masks are one of those measures that give protection to you as well as others from the risk of spreading coronavirus. However, it will not work effectively if you do not wear it appropriately. For any face mask to be worked effectively it is vital that it properly covers your mouth and nose the two most vulnerable areas of your face.
Make sure when you put on your mask, your nose and mouth remain well covered as these are two primary places where from the virus can shed. Your mask should snugly fit towards the bridge of your nose. However, depending upon your nose shape the mask might fit bit above or below of this spot. As per one renowned health specialist, one should ensure that the majority area of the nose and entire mouth area get well covered with the face mask for getting the best possible protection against the coronavirus.
Some face masks remain too big enough that it covers your chin area as well which is really great however, this is not something that is essential. Your chin area does not need to be covered but if it remains covered with a mask then it offers good coverage around your mouth. Also, many face masks fit comfortably on the chin.
The Mask should be Comfortable and Breathable One
Wearing a face mask doesn’t mean that you will get protection against the virus risk at the cost of your discomfort for the time period you wear it. Though people get few difficulties initially while wearing a face mask and get used to it over time but at any condition, your face mask should not restrict your ability to breathing.
Your face mask must fit comfortably and should be easily breathable. A perfectly fit mask does not cause any irritation or pain nor it leaves any gap in between your face and mask, the place for leakage of your droplets. A very little gap is normal and also these small or trifling gaps are unavoidable. However, you need to ensure that these gaps remain as few as it is possible as fewer and smaller the gap will be better the level of protective shield around your face.
Same way even if you wear your mask for too long for any reason at any condition it should not create difficulty in your breathing ability. While inhaling, the air finds a place of least resistance for entering inside your body. However, if there are too many gaps between the mask and your face then it will circulate around the mask instead of going through it hence overlapping its benefits.
In a perfectly set mask the air goes through it, do not move around it to ensure that the air gets well filtered before you breathe it. Also, a perfectly and comfortably fit mask does not require frequent adjustments that contain the risk of cross-contamination. Irrespective of a mask type you are wearing, it will not work effectively if it is worn down around the neck for a too long time of the day, or poorly fitted on areas which are essential to be covered and creates a necessity to bring your hands to those areas for adjustments.
Clean Your Cloth Face Mask on a Regular Basis
In the current era of coronavirus pandemic with the enhanced level necessity of the usage of face masks has created a scarcity of the surgical or medical mask in the market for common public, whereas the N95 particle respirators need to be reserved for medical-grade professionals.
So to cope up with demands homemade cloth face masks with breathable and easily available fabric have taken the place of surgical masks for the general public. Now as cloths are used by more than the average number of total pupation of any country so it creates the requirement of handling these masks in a proper way.
People who are using a cloth face mask whether created by themselves at home or purchased from a local store or from online should always wear only a cleaned mask otherwise they can’t expect protection out of it. Wash your cloth mask on a regular basis after each use which means after every use the masks should be washed and disinfected by you.
You can use your normal detergent for cleaning your mask. Try to use hot water as it is better to disinfect your cloth face mask. If you have a washing machine with a hot water setting then just by putting a regular detergent you can clean your mask. However, your task does not end here you also need to well dry your masks. Let your masks air dry under sun heat or air. Do not wear a wet cloth face mask at any cost to avoid your contamination risk.
To protect your freshly cleaned and dry cloth face mask against the contamination risk do not put it on any surface especially the high touch surface areas at your home. Store it in a paper bag instead of storing it in a plastic bag or containers that can lock the moisture inside it.
While using disposable face masks you should follow the guideline mentioned on its packaging for cleaning it. The way of cleaning a disposable mask remains a bit different than the cloth mask. You can use your disposable mask all day around in a public area excluding the high-risk clinical areas.
However, it must not be reused the next day unless it is used briefly or it is in a position that can be cleaned or sanitized in a certain way. For any commercially available disposable mask, one should follow the cleaning and sanitizing guideline given by its manufacturer.
After using your disposable mask you should wash your hands properly. Remove it by using its ties and safely discard it in a trash bin. These few steps are vital to follow in order to ensure the protection and benefit of using a cloth face mask.
Don’t Depend on Masks as Single Medium of Virus Prevention
No, doubt masks are an effective tool of protection against coronavirus contraction and transmission risk but this should not be followed as a single source or way of prevention. Other vital prevention measures recommended by any country’s apex healthcare department such as CDC etc must be adhered seriously, in order to reduce or slowing down the spreading rate of this virus.
Each and every individual needs to follow the social distancing guideline which says to maintain at least 6 feet distance from everyone around while in a public place along with wearing a face mask.
Many times protective gear such as face masks and gloves can develop a false sense of security in mind, resulting in people become less careful and conscious about their protection risk. Resulting in they start touching surfaces even which are not necessary for them which increases their cross-contamination risks.
Also, this false sense of security reduces the frequency of washing and sanitizing hands too frequently in people which is the most vital thing that needs to be followed in order to prevent one’s risk of contracting and spreading the coronavirus. Remember one thing in mind that having so many face masks at your home does not mean that you can go out too many times.
A mask is a way of reducing the coronavirus transmission risk to others especially while in a public place however, this must not be used to encourage any nonessential or additional public gathering or activities. Maintain social distancing which is the most effective tool to fight back this pandemic and to end it completely.
How to Put on the Mask?
Now as you know that what are the common mistakes that people do while wearing a face mask and how you can avoid it for ensuring maximum protection and benefit of using this mask against the fight of new coronavirus pandemic global, so it’s time to know the step by step guide to follow while putting on a face mask-
- Wash your hands properly with soap and water at least for 20 seconds before touching it. Dry out your hands with a clean cotton towel or if available then with a clean and fresh paper towel and throw it away.
- Check your face mask thoroughly to ensure that there are no defects in it including a tear or earloop or missing tie. If you find any defect in your mask then don’t use it and throw it out.
- Keep the exterior of your mask which generally remains of blue or yellow color facing outward i.e. away from the face.
- Now put on your mask keeping the blue or yellow side facing out and the stretchable, stiff edge at your nose top. This should be stuck by your nose.
- If you are wearing a mask that has ties then pick your mask up only by the ties and tie its upper ties just back of your head with a bow.
- When you get assured that your mask is placed properly then using your thumb and index finger simply pinch the top bendable edge of the face mask around the bridge of your nose.
- In case the mask you are wearing has a lower tie then after fitting the mask around the bridge of your nose, tie out this lower tie back of your head with a bow.
- To keep your mask fully secure in its place so that it can provide full protection to you make sure that it covers your nose and mouth fully which will be only possible if the bottom edge of this mask remains under your chin area.
- Once you are done with putting on your mask, wash your hands again.
How to Remove the Mask?
Follow the below-mentioned steps while removing your mask-
- Wash your hands properly with soap and water at least for 20 seconds before removing your mask.
- Avoid touching the inside of your mask especially the area that covers your nose and mouth as it might be contaminated from your sneezing, coughing, and breathing.
- Remove your mask by untying it or removing the ear loops depending upon your mask features and then take it off by its straps.
- If it is a disposable mask then dispose it of in a trash bin otherwise, if it is a cloth mask then wash it properly for reusing it again.
- Wash your hands again thoroughly or sanitize it after removing your mask.
We hope your query on how to use a face mask is fully cleared now. So follow the above-mentioned step by step guide on how to put on and remove a mask. However, for ensuring the best level of protection against coronavirus spreading risk everyone should maintain the guideline of social distancing along with washing and sanitizing hands frequently.