COVID-19: The Right Way to Wear a Face Mask

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When you begin to experience symptoms of flu and cold, COVID-19 (coronavirus) or other infections and viruses, wearing a surgical mask, the proper way can help to protect others from falling sick.

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It is vital that you adhered to all infection prevention precautions when you chose to put on the mask and when you are taking it off. Here, you will find out who should wear a mask, when, why, and how.

Who should wear a facemask?

Before now, the CDC makes it clear that only infected persons and those caring for them should wear a face mask. However, now, the general public is advised to use one if they must go out.

This new development has led to the misuse of masks, and a lot of people wear them wrongly.

If you are wondering when its OK to wear a mask, the answer is when you’re outside your house. If you are in the house or in your car alone, there is no need to wear a facemask as it is meant to help filter droplets from the mouths of those you come in contact with during your activities.

There are many types of facemasks. The most common ones are:

  • Medical (or surgical) masks – this is available for general public use
  • N95 particle respirator masks – this is meant for health care professionals
  • Fabric facemask- well, not the safest for protecting yourself from COVID-19

The right way to wear a facemask

  • Check your surgical mask for any defects like a missing earloop or tie, or even a tear.
  • Make sure the exterior (often, green, yellow, or blue) part of the mask is turned outwards, away from your face.
  • Place the surgical mask on your face with the colored side facing out and the hard, bendable edge at the bridge of your nose at the top.
  • If the nose mask has ear loops, then you have to put one loop around each of your ears.
  • If your face mask has ties, pick it up by the ties and make a bow at behind your head with the upper strings.
  • Once you have the mask in place, make use of your thumb and index finger to pinch the bendable top edge of the surgical mask around the upside bridge of your nose.
  • If the mask comes with a lower tie, then once you have the mask fitted to the bridge of your nose, proceed to tie the lower ties at the back of your head with a bow.
  • Make sure the mask is well secure. Ensure that it covers both your nose and mouth in a way that the bottom edge is beneath your chin.
  • Wash your hands.

Taking off your nose mask

  • Wash or properly sanitize your hands before taking off the mask.
  • Do not make any contact with the inside of the mask (the area covering your nose and mouth). It may be contaminated from your coughing, breathing or sneezing.
  • Untie or take off the ear loops and take off the mask by the straps.
  • Dispose of the surgical mask in the trash.
  • Thoroughly Wash your hands.

Please Note: If you are making use of a reusable cloth mask, at the end of the day, ensure that you take the mask off from the elastic bands or straps (without touching the front), Wash it in a washing machine with hot water, completely dry on high or medium heat.

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N95 Respirators

  • N95 respirators are special masks that can help prevent a user from inhaling infectious viruses and particles.
  • These masks must be fitted to each user and tested to make sure that they are perfect at preventing inhalation of any infectious particle.
  • The CDC does NOT endorse the general public wearing this mask.
  • The CDC only recommends that health care workers put on the N95 facemask.
  • This mask blocks up to 95 % of small particles
  • An N95 mask is made to fit securely on your face and also fit against your skin
  • This mask is not designed for kids or people with facial hair
  • Some N95 masks have exhalation valve to help reduce condensation build-up
  • If you must use one, follow instructions that come with the mask

Ways Not To Wear A Mask

A lot of people now wear masks on their foreheads like sunglasses, and others put it under their chin when they want to talk. Well, these are no ways to use a mask if the intention is to protect yourself.

Also, never opt for a mask made of fabric if you have a choice

Fashion has quickly found its way into the protective gear industry as designers now sell cloth nose masks to people in place of surgical masks.

It has been proven that cloth masks are not a safe option as germs and viruses can penetrate them easily. A quick test to prove how unsafe fabric masks are: Try to blow out a candle while wearing a cloth mask and see how the fire goes off immediately.

Try the same with a surgical mask and see how hard it is to put out the fire.

Don’t be a Covidiot

Covidiot is a new word birthed out of necessity in a time when people chose to do things that put them and other people at risk of getting infected by Covid-19.

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If you wear your mask wrongly, do not dispose it properly, refuse to maintain social distancing, and do things to put people at risk of contacting the novel coronavirus, you sadly fit into this category.

We hope that you found this article helpful. Kindly leave a comment.

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Emmanuella Ekokotu
Ekokotu Emmanuella is a sociologist and Anthropologist, writer, and fashion model who lives in Benin city, Edo state,Nigeria.
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