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How to Use a Face Mask, and When to Wear It

People wearing face mask for covid protection

Using a face mask the right way, and when to wear it

Face masks have become more and more common in social settings as COVID19 spreads. Whether you’re shopping at the store or eating out at your favorite restaurant, chances are you’re going to have to wear a face mask. Finding the right mask for you is one thing, but knowing how to use a face mask correctly is what makes it effective at preventing infection.

Why do experts recommend face masks?

Woman wearing covid mask in public

Health experts recommend wearing a face mask because of the way the virus spreads. The latest coronavirus research implies the virus is spread through respiratory droplets. These droplets can enter the air after somebody infected with the virus talks, sneezes or coughs. The droplets can then enter the body of an uninfected person. The virus has been found to last up to several days on some surfaces. Experts suggest that wearing a mask if you’re sick can keep these droplets from spreading. In some cases, the virus can spread for up to 48 hours before you first show symptoms.

Some people who have tested positive for COVID19 have shown little to know symptoms at all. Wearing a mask, even if you don’t feel sick, can prevent the spread of the virus to others while still protecting yourself. However, some health organizations warn that using a face mask the wrong way could do little to offer protection.

How do I put on a face mask?

The World Health Organization has released their own guidelines on how to use a face mask the right way. The WHO recommends starting by washing your hands, either with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub, before touching the mask. Then, inspect the mask for any tears or holes that could allow the virus to pass through. 

After identifying the top and bottom, as well as inside and outside of the mask, fit the mask to your face. Pinch the mask to the top of your face, so it holds to your nose. Then, pull the bottom of the mask down over your mouth and chin.

The WHO warns against touching the front of the mask while using it. Wash your hands again if you do accidentally touch the front of the mask. According to the WHO, you should wear a mask if you’re taking care of somebody already infected with COVID19. Face masks should also be worn by anyone coughing or sneezing.

Removing your mask safely can lower your risk of infection

To take off a face mask safely, remove the mask’s ear loops from your ears without touching the front of the mask. Keep the mask away from the front of your face as well. If you are using a disposable mask, make sure you throw it out after use. Then, rewash your hands.

The WHO has released several warnings for anyone using a face mask to prevent the spread of COVID19. The WHO says to never use a mask that is damp or ripped. If your mask does become damp, or have any holes, take it off and use a new one. Avoid using a face mask that is too loose on the face. Always make sure the mask is covering your mouth and your nose at the same time. Do not remove the mask to speak to others, or do anything that requires touching the front of the mask.

When you are done using a mask, make sure it is out of reach from others and do not re-use it. Wearing a mask alone will not protect from the coronavirus. Masks should always be used alongside social distancing, as well as frequent, thorough hand-washing. 

Woman putting on a face mask correctly

When and where should I use a face mask?

The WHO recommends face masks for use by anyone taking care of those sick with the coronavirus or anyone showing symptoms of the virus. However, the Center for Disease Control and Protection, the nation’s leading public health institute, recommends differently. According to the CDC, face masks should be worn by anyone out in public where social distancing is difficult. Examples of this could be a crowded grocery store or pharmacy.

For the general public, the CDC recommends wearing a reusable cloth face mask instead of a surgical mask or N95 respirator. The mask should be washed routinely, depending on how often it is used. Putting a cloth face mask through a washer and dryer is enough to clean and sanitize the mask. The CDC recommends single use masks for medical professionals and first responders only. 

A cloth face mask from Excelsus Solutions is an effective way to meet CDC guidelines for wearing a mask in public. Not only is it breathable and comfortable, but its specially designed to fit over the nose with ease. Excelsus Solutions’ face masks are also machine washable for repeated use.

When wearing a cloth face mask in public, make sure the mask fits snugly over the mouth and nose, The mask should also fit close to the sides of the face. The mask should stay secure with the use of strings or ear loops. A good cloth face mask also provides several layers of fabric, but does not restrict breathing in any way. Make sure your cloth face mask completely covers your mouth and nose. Doing this can help prevent respiratory droplets from entering the body. Remove the mask by holding onto the strings or ear loops, being careful not to touch the front of the mask.

Covid face masks for protection

How should I be using my face mask?

As of today, health officials continue to recommend the use of face masks by the general public to help slow the spread of the virus. Wearing a cloth face mask in public can help prevent the spread of germs to yourself and others. Always make sure your mask is completely covering your nose and mouth. If your mask is a cloth face mask, regularly clean and sanitize your mask. Do not reuse a medical surgical mask or N95 respirator. 

When removing the mask for cleaning or disposal, hold the mask by it’s strings or ear loops. Avoid touching the outside of the mask. If your hands do come in contact with the mask, wash them thoroughly. Face masks should always be used alongside frequent hand washing and social distancing when possible. Knowing how to use a face mask the right way can lower your risk of contracting COVID19.

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