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Coronavirus Tips: How to Properly Wear a Face Mask

Now that mask-wearing becomes a daily routine for many during the coronavirus outbreak, it is important to learn how to properly put on and remove a facemask. Before we dive into the details, here are three rules of thumb: 

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling the mask every time
  2. Avoid touching the mask unnecessarily 
  3. Cover both your mouth and nose at all times. 

Read on for more information on the steps of wearing and removing a mask, the differences between medical and cloth masks, and when to wear a mask. 

What is a facemask?

A facemask is a loose-fitting mask that covers a person’s nose and mouth. There are different kinds of masks, each with a different purpose. This article will broadly cover the differences between medical-grade masks and non-medical-grade masks

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Medical-grade masks need to be certified and cleared by government agencies, so their qualities are controlled. The main purpose of medical-grade masks is to prevent disease transmission. The masks provide high filtration and fluid-resistance, this means they can block fluid droplets and splashes such as blood, mucus, and saliva, and they can also capture some, but usually not all, bacteria, viruses, and very small particulates.

Non-medical-grade masks, such as cloth masks, are not certified by federal agencies and are usually used to block dust, pollen, etc. Their filtration levels vary based on the materials they are made of but are generally lower than the filtration levels of medical-grade masks. Despite this, cloth masks can still capture some respiratory droplets emitted by the wearer and decrease the travel distance of the wearer’s respiratory droplets, thus decreasing the probability of the mask-wearer infecting those around them.   

When to wear a face mask during the coronavirus outbreak

The CDC has advised everyone to wear masks when leaving the house, especially when one is going to an enclosed indoor space, a space that is crowded, or an area with high community transmission rates. 

How to put on a face mask 

When wearing a mask, the two most important goal is to avoid contaminating the mask before you put it on, and avoid contaminating yourself with the mask you when you take it off. Please follow these steps to do it right:

  1. Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water before touching the mask. Use hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available. 
  2. Hold the mask by its earloops or ties, avoid touching the body of the mask (the part that covers your face).
  3. Identify which side of the mask goes on your skin and which goes outside. If you have a 3-ply mask that is colored, the colored side is usually the outside of the mask. If you can’t figure out which side is which, contact your mask seller for information. 
  4. Make sure your mask is right-side up. If your mask has a stiff bendable edge on one end then that’s the top of the mask. The stiff bendable edge should go on your nose bridge. 
  5. Now that you’ve made sure your mask is positioned correctly, hold it by its earloops and put it on your face by wrapping each earloop behind each ear. If your mask has strings that you need to tie yourself, then first tie the upper pair of stings over your ears around your head, then tie the lower pair of strings under your ears around your head. 
  6. If your mask has a stiff bendable edge, gently pinch it to mold it around your nose bridge.
  7. Make sure that the fit is snug and that the mask covers both your nose and your mouth. You may need to pull the bottom of the mask down a little for it to reach your chin. The mask should extend from your nose bridge to your chin. 

How to remove a face mask

  • Do not touch the body of the mask when you’re removing it. Do not touch the body of the mask at any time after you’ve put it on. 
  • Before you remove the mask, wash your hands. 
  • Hold your mask by its earloops or ties when you’re removing it. With earloops, simply hold on to both earloops and take the mask off. With ties, first undo the ties at the bottom then the ties on the top. 
  • Do not let the outside of the facemask touch your face as you are taking it off.
  • After discarding the mask or putting it in a designated place for wash/disinfection, wash your hands again. 

Who should not wear a mask

The CDC states that children under the age of two, and people who have difficulty breathing, people who are unconscious, and people who are unable to remove the masks themselves should not wear masks. 

If you’re looking for certified, quality masks…

MOCACARE has in stock 3-ply, fluid-resistant masks and KN95 masks, both compliant with the European mask standard.

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