More and more people have been seen wearing disposable, medical face masks as the Covid-19 virus spreads, but mostly as a way to protect themselves from being infected. However, wearing the face masks as protection has not been proven to be very effective at all. People should be using the masks only to keep others from contracting the virus, such as those who have the virus, have shown possible symptoms or have been in contact with someone who tested positive – as well as health workers, caretakers and individuals with respiratory symptoms, such as fever and a cough.
Nonetheless, wearing a mask can offer one a feeling of protection and comfort or can help stop them from touching their faces – an important recommendation many are having a challenging time following. However, there is a world-wide shortage of masks that must be taken into consideration. In any case, should you choose to wear a face mask, the WHO (World Health Organization) states the following.
What you should know about wearing a face mask
- Disposable face masks can only be used once.
- Before touching the mask, clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
- Inspect the mask for tears or holes.
- Orient which side is the top side (where the metal strip is).
- Ensure the proper side of the mask faces outwards (the coloured side).
- Place the mask to your face. Pinch the metal strip or stiff edge of the mask so it molds to the shape of your nose.
- Pull down the mask’s bottom so it covers your mouth and your chin.
- After use, take off the mask; remove the elastic loops from behind the ears while keeping the mask away from your face and clothes, to avoid touching potentially contaminated surfaces of the mask.
- Discard the mask in a closed bin immediately after use.
- Perform hand hygiene after touching or discarding the mask.
The bottom line and the most effective ways to protect yourself and others against COVID-19 are to frequently clean your hands with soap and water, cover your cough or sneeze in the bend of your elbow or into a tissue and maintain a distance of at least 3 to 6 feet from people who are coughing or sneezing.