By now, you've likely heard that wearing face coverings, like a face mask, is important to help fight against the novel coronavirus.
Do you want to wear a face mask or mouth cover to help combat COVID-19, but are worried you aren't doing it right? Do you feel intimidated to wear a mask at all as a result?
If you want to wear a mask and aren't sure how to do it, you've come to the right place.
We're going to talk about wearing a face mask in public the right way, so keep reading to learn what you need to know to stay safe and healthy.
Why Use a Face Mask?
Before we discuss how to use a face cover or a mask that covers the nose and mouth, we should discuss the importance of using face masks in the first place.
Face masks are an easy-to-use tool for limiting the spread of germs, which is why they are ideal for preventing disease and contamination. They are used in many lines of work, such as dentistry or medicine, but anyone can use them.
Most of the face masks you'll find are loose-fitting and they cover your nose and mouth. Whenever you talk, sneeze, or cough, the mask will protect others from coming into contact with your germs.
Even if you don't know that you're sick, you can still have tiny germs in your respiratory system that may get others sick, which is why masks can be so useful. They block the number of germs that you release into other peoples' space.
Some masks are also built to protect you from the germs of others, making them good for you and good for the people around you. Wearing a mask is like wearing a protective barrier.
There are so many different brands of masks out there, but as long as they cover your nose and mouth and fit comfortably around your head, they should work.
Whenever you're sick, it is a good idea to wear a mask if you have to be around other people. During this unprecedented time, the CDC recommends wearing a mask whenever you're in public.
Proper Hand Washing Technique
Since your hands need to be sanitary before you put on your face mask, knowing how to wash your hands the right way is crucial.
Luckily, washing your hands is easy and it's a great way to prevent germs from spreading in addition to wearing a mask. It's another way to set yourself up for success when you want protection from illness.
Clean hands will stop germs from spreading to different people or throughout a community, even if you don't realize it!
To properly wash your hands, follow these steps:
- Use clean, running water to wet your hands. Cold or warm water will work. Turn off the tap and apply the soap.
- Cover every inch of the surface on your hands with the soap. Rub your palms to lather the soap and don't forget your wrists or under your nails.
- Rub the palm of one hand on the backside of your other hand and repeat on the other side. Clean in-between your fingers on both hands. Grasp your thumb with one hand, rotate the closed hand around it, and repeat with the other side.
- Rinse your hands under clean, running water. The temperature doesn't matter here, either.
- Dry your hands with a disposable towel if it's available. If not, air drying is also acceptable. With the towel (if available), turn off the tap.
While scrubbing your hands, consider singing a short song in your head to make sure you scrub for at least 20 seconds.
How to Put on a Face Mask
Now that your hands are clean, you're ready to put on your mask. If you were unable to wash your hands, using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer can also work.
Remove the mask from its container and figure out which side is the front or back. Make sure there aren't any holes or tears in the mask.
Once you know which side is the front, determine which way is right-side-up. Some masks have a stiff edge at the top that folds to your nose. You can set this to bend with your nose after the mask is on, so don't worry about it yet.
If your mask has ties, bring it level to your nose and place the ties on the crown of your head. Secure it with a bow.
If your mask has loops, hold the mask by the loops and place each of them around your ears.
If your mask has bands, hold it in your hand by the top of the mask. This allows the bands to hang below your hands. Bring the mask level to your nose and pull the top band to your crown and the bottom band over your head to rest on the neck.
Be sure the mask is covering your mouth and chin by pulling it down from the bottom. The mask should go over the top of your nose underneath the eye level as well.
How to Take off a Face Mask
Before you touch your mask, you will need to wash your hands again using the steps outlined above. Again, if you can't wash your hands, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer in its place.
To take off your mask, don't touch the front of the mask.
This applies to any type of mask you may be using. Only touch the loops, ties, or bands to remove the mask.
If your mask has ties, start by untying the bottom bow first and then the top bow. Pull the mask away from your face as you loosen the ties.
If your mask has loops, put your hands under both ear loops and pull the mask gently from your face.
If your mask has bands, lift the bottom band first over the top of your head and then pull the top band over your head after that.
Disposable masks need to be thrown in the trash immediately after use. Once you've disposed of it, wash your hands again, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
You can wear reusable masks again, but only after you wash them. It's a good idea to put your reusable masks straight into the washing machine to sanitize it.
Using a Reusable Face Mask
While reusable face masks are wonderful for many reasons, not using them the right way can be as bad as not wearing one at all!
One thing to consider is marking one side of the mask with a small dot or line to see which side is the outside or inside.
You'll also want to keep the mask in a paper bag whenever you have to remove it in public. A plastic, sealable bag will also work if you don't have paper.
At home, the mask should be stored somewhere clean. As long as it's not touching anything potentially contaminated, it should be fine. Make sure to avoid storing the mask in a purse or pocket and wash your mask after each use.
What Not to Do With Your Face Mask
Don't touch the front of your mask. This is the part that is exposed to all of the germs and contamination. If you touch it, the germs will now be on your hands as well, making it easier to spread without realizing it.
Don't let the mask hang around your neck or under your chin. The germs that touch the outside of your mask are also capable of touching the skin on your neck or under your chin. When you put your mask there, you are potentially rubbing it on all of those other contaminants.
Don't cross the ties on the back of your head. This is unnecessary and doesn't make the mask more secure. It may even make it more difficult to take it off.
Don't use single-use or disposable masks more than intended.
If you have to touch your face mask when you are wearing a mask, you should wash your hands first using the steps outlined above. After you put the mask on, you need to wash your hands again or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Using a Facial Mask as a Mouth Cover
Now that you've got the information you need about face masks and using a mouth cover, you're ready to help against the spread of COVID-19.
If you're in the market for new face masks, you don't need to look any further. We have a great selection of reusable face masks that come in a variety of patterns!
Check out our shop to see what we have and start wearing your mask today.