A Fit for Everyone
Most of the face masks out there in the market are produced with a ‘one size fits all’ strategy to reduce production cost and improve profits. As a result, most people find face masks either too big or sometimes too small for their face. It is important while selecting and donning a mask that it actually fits your face and does not keep slipping off or worse still, insufficiently cover your face.
Most masks are on the larger end of the size spectrum which causes them to be too large for children or people with smaller faces. The easiest and most effective solution to this dilemma is to tie small knots in the straps of the mask to tighten it across your face and keep it from being a nuisance.
A Mask is Only as Clean as You Keep It
Face masks are not magical devices that ward off the evil of illness but just a tool that may fail if not used well. The first thing to keep in mind while using a face mask is to touch it as little as possible while using it to reduce the germs we transfer from our hands to the surface of the mask.
Wash your hands and sanitise them before handling your clean mask before you wear it. It is completely counter productive to don an already contaminated face mask.
While outside there are times when taking our masks off is unavoidable, for example, when we take a drink of water or eat outside at a restaurant, etc.
Always have a spatial awareness of how you handle your mask and where you keep it when it is not resting on your face. Too often we completely forget our masks and carelessly place them here or there increasing the risk of catching an infection from the very device we trust to keep us safe.
Your pockets are not a safe place to keep them either! As we go through the motions there are so many things we put inside our pockets that we may not realise bring germs with them.
Our hands are obviously the biggest culprits but there are so many other things that contaminate our pockets on a daily basis. Our phones or keys are also high touch surfaces that basically live in our pockets and may carry germs. The best option while outside is to not completely take your mask off but simply pull it down under your chin when needed.
Make Sure Your Mask Is Actually Doing Its Job
A commonly made mistake while wearing a mask is letting it slip down enough to expose the nose or sometimes even the mouth. While this is in most cases an honestly subconscious mistake it is still rather careless and irresponsible not just to oneself but also to everyone in a person’s immediate vicinity.
It is true that wearing masks instinctually feels wrong and suffocating which is why we often don’t even realise when we have pulled it down a bit or not fixed its position if it slipped.
This is then a matter of training oneself to adjust to the slightly restricted air supply while we wear our masks. If you ever catch yourself not wearing your mask properly, make it a habit to fix it immediately and find a position where it fits you most comfortably to, reduce the itch to take it off.
There are plenty of people out there too who sling a mask on their faces but don’t bother to cover their mouth and noses. If possible, politely remind them the importance of wearing a mask properly to protect ourselves but avoid being aggressive or condescending while saying it. Remember, the whole point is to help others and ourselves, not start arguments.
Disposing of face masks can get tricky as they should not just be thrown away with your regular garbage. The fluids released by our bodies into the masks are potentially virulent in nature and must not be exposed. Cloth masks are reusable yet they need to be washed thoroughly and often. Just using water is not enough so we should use a detergent to disinfect the fabric as well.
While taking off your mask, touch only the strings attached to them and do not touch the fount. Fold it in half or roll it if possible so that the fluid inside is not easily exposed out in the open. These masks should be thrown in bio-waste bins but it is understandable that these are not available everywhere.
In that case you should wrap your mask in two layers before you dispose of them, first being of newspaper or polyethylene bags and the outer one being an airtight polyethylene bag. Once wrapped well this can then be discarded with your normal trash.
Avoid Valved Masks
Masks with valves seem attractive at first because it is easier to breathe in them but do not be fooled by that tempting offer. The very valves that support better air flow also let viral matter escape in and out of the mask, making wearing the device moot.
These masks have been banned in a lot of regions and we should avoid them as well. These masks do not fulfil their original function which is to keep the user safe from airborne germs and bacteria.