It’s safe to say that the face mask is a standard accessory for everyone for the foreseeable future. Depending on the city you live in, face masks are mandatory or encouraged in most indoor and outdoor settings, where social distancing isn’t possible. Despite the urge from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to wear masks to slow the spread of COVID-19, many people refuse to wear masks, or they wear them incorrectly.
People argue about whether masks do anything to keep people safe. There is no argument to be had here because masks actually do keep people safe. Wearing a mask helps to protect others from contracting COVID-19. Because so many people can unknowingly have the virus, wearing a mask helps keep others safe, since you can transmit the virus even without experiencing symptoms.
How To Properly Wear A Mask
Any cloth facial covering or mask should cover your nose and mouth. It should be snug around your face to avoid respiratory droplets entering open or loose areas. Make sure that you can breathe easily, so don’t make it too tight. Before you put on your mask, wash your hands and try to only touch the bands or ties when putting the mask on your face. Disposable masks should be discarded every day, while reusable masks should be washed after each use. Click here to learn more about caring for reusable masks.
Unfortunately, many people do not wear masks correctly, increasing their risk of contracting COVID-19. If you make the following mask-wearing mistakes, it’s time to correct them. Remember that improper mask wearing contributes to higher COVID-19 numbers, which prevents us from moving forward and reopening more and more businesses.
The Chin Diaper
The chin diaper or neckbeard iteration of mask wearing offers zero protection for the wearer and those around them. When your mask is scrunched under your chin, you run the risk of germs landing on both the inside and outside of the mask. Putting that mask back over your mouth and nose then increases your risk of COVID-19. Additionally, each time you pull the mask up and down, you can transfer germs from your fingers to your nose and mouth.
Much like the Chin Diaper technique, the Earring offers zero protection. Allowing the mask to hang off one ear means that you are not covering the nose and mouth, the two most vulnerable areas of your face through which COVID-19-infected droplets can enter. Not only is this ineffective mask wearing at its finest, but it is also a great way to put you and others around you at risk.
Listen, people, don’t cut a hole in your mask so that you can fit your straw and snacks through it. We’ve seen it around and it offers minimal protection. While you may think that it protects you if you’re sipping your beverage in a crowded place, it does not. In fact, it increases the chances of inhaling infected droplets through the hole or exhaling them out of the hole.
This is probably the most common mistake for people who wear masks. When you leave your nose out, you expose yourself to COVID-19 droplets, but you can also breath out droplets, putting others at risk. This technique serves no purpose and all of the health experts advise against it.
The Nose Patch
This isn’t a popular mask wearing technique, but people do wear masks like this. This fashionable choice involves wearing the mask over your nose only, leaving your mouth exposed. This style is excellent if you needed to read lips while simultaneously increasing your risk of getting infected by COVID-19. The mask cannot trap respiratory droplets when you cough or speak, and it doesn’t protect the wearer from inhaling infected droplets.
The mask should cover your nose and mouth, not your hair. Some people decide to wear masks on their heads, holding their hair down and keeping it out of their face. You know what’s not out of their face? Coronavirus. This technique, much like the Earring or Chin Diaper, leaves your mouth and nose exposed, making it 100% ineffective.
Winter is coming and more scarves will be used in place of cloth facial coverings. This is a horrible idea because scarves have holes in them and cannot effective block droplets from coming in or exiting out. One strand of hair is 60 microns, and the infected droplets that can infect you are 100 microns, meaning they can easily pass through the holes in the average scarf. Tight woven scarves combined with proper mask wearing (over the nose and mouth) can be very effective at protecting you and others around you.