HOW TO WEAR COMMON FACE MASK: STOPPING THE SPREAD
BE A HERO! SAVE THE WORLD!
You go out. You need food, you need gas, you need to see a tree or the blue sky – for the love of everything, you just have got to get out of your house! Inevitably you’re going to observe people not wearing facial coverings correctly.
We've had so little experience. Most of the general population have never dealt with these masks before. Suddenly we’re supposed to wear these things everywhere and know what we're doing?
That can be confusing for anyone. I'll address some of the top questions: which side do I wear facing out? Do I have to cover my nose and mouth? How long can I wear one? Are they washable? Can I dispose of this on the ground after I leave the store? (Spoiler: the answer to that one is a no-brainer and, always, emphatically, NO!)
Let’s cover the basics of how to wear a mask efficiently to protect others and help stop the spread.
First and foremost, wash your hands for 20 seconds or use sanitizer before donning your mask.
Grab your mask by only touching the ear loops and attach a loop behind each ear. The mask should be snugly covering your nose and mouth.
Next, which side of the mask do you wear as the outside? There’s confusion out there, so this is important. With “common” masks (as shown below), you’re going to see two colors: a blue side and white side. You will wear the blue side facing out and the white side in, touching your face. Why does this matter, you may ask?
The devil is in the details. Your mask should have three layers. The blue outer layer is water-resistant, thereby repelling droplets in the air. The middle layer acts as a filter. The white inner layer (which is what touches your face) acts as your absorbent. Meaning, when you speak, cough, or sneeze, it traps the droplets (snot, saliva, and other gross substances) inside the mask. This reduces the risk of spreading those droplets (i.e. gross substances) to others.
Side note: if you’re wearing a DIY mask, the three-ply rule applies too. They should have a fabric insert or PM2.5 filter (shown)
To our introverts, congrats! You’re now incognito and saving the world! To our extroverts, congrats! You're social(ly-distancing) and saving the world!
Now, WHAT NOT TO DO'S:
Do not wear your mask under your nose. Your mask should be a snug, comfortable fit over your mouth and nose.
Do not pull your mask up to your forehead or pull it down around your neck, even upon removing your mask. Always take it off at the ear loops.
Do not wear your mask for longer than 8 – 10 hours.
Do not touch your mask.
Yes, your mask is disposable, but it should go without saying, do not dispose of your mask on the ground.
Don't be this person 😖
To remove your mask, lean your head slightly forward and simply pull the ear loops away from your face, being careful to not touch the mask. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds after removal (you can brighten your day and sing "Happy Birthday" while you scrub away). While you’re out and about (getting out of the house, getting out of the house), make sure you use hand sanitizer every time you take your mask off. Rinse and repeat.
You can leave these masks in a safe location (plastic or paper bag, a container, or an isolated location) for a few days to decontaminate. HOWEVER, if the mask is visibly dirty or damaged, properly dispose of it.
The best practice to keep going (and just getting out of the house already!) is to have a supply of (3 - 5) masks so that you can switch them out as needed. Per the CDC, you can also wash your cloth masks
Stay Healthy, Stay Safe 💚💙
Disclaimer: This content provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult with your physician for the most updated information / health care plan.