Wearing a face mask is no more an optional decision and is considered to be mandatory. With the new rule in place, many people are still confused on how to correctly wear it or what not to do. These mistakes could prove to be dangerous for the people around them, without them realizing it.
Here are the common dangerous mistakes people make when wearing their face mask:
You aren’t washing your hands before and after taking off your mask
One mistake that many people neglect to do is cleaning their hands before and after taking off their masks. This is crucial, for washing hands prior to putting a mask on avoids any virus getting on the mask. When removing a mask, it is important to wash hands to assure that no viruses are transferred to the hands.
In order to prevent transmission of the virus, it is advisable to wash your hands for a complete 20-30 seconds before putting on and removing your mask, as infections transferred to hands can easily be transferred to the nose, mouth and eye areas.
You’re sharing a mask with others
Similar to toothbrushes, hairbrushes and underwear, masks are personal hygiene matters that cannot be shared with others (and may be detrimental if done so). When putting on a mask, the air you breathe including the bacteria and virus gets latched on. What would be harmful is that once your mask that is filled with the bacteria is used by others, they will also get the batch of harmful bacteria that you were protected from inhaling. However, if you wash your mask before allowing someone else to use it, it’s safe to share it with others.
You’re reusing disposable masks
Many people are now using disposable masks, as it can be easily used then discarded afterwards. It is therefore inadvisable to reuse said mask, for disposable masks are designed, manufactured and certified for short-term use only. The recommended amount is for 4 hours, then it should be tossed immediately, as it loses its ability to filter particles and carries microorganisms. It’s important to remember that after the recommended amount of usage, the mask is no longer effective.
You aren’t washing your reusable mask regularly
Research has found that many people haven’t been washing their reusable face masks for several days (some going as far as 9 days). Washing your masks will ensure that it remains hygienic and filters bacteria and harmful viruses from entering our system. By two weeks of not washing reusable masks, their effectivity will decrease. By that time the mask has already accumulated large amounts of sweat, oil, and droplets which results in a foul smell. This makes it hard for you to breathe.
You aren’t covering your nose and mouth with your mask
We understand that wearing a mask can be uncomfortable for breathing, but covering your nose and mouth with a mask is important. Because of the discomfort they may experience, people can pull down their mask to reveal their nose and mouth to breathe. This is a big mistake, as covering your mouth and nose securely at all times for it to be effectively used to protect you, and others around you, from viral transmission. What’s more is that a study was recently conducted and published in Cell journal that revealed that cells in the nose are more likely to be infected with the coronavirus than cells in lung and throat areas, which is why it is important that your mask covers your nose and mouth.
You aren’t storing your mask correctly
Storing your masks is another important subject that needs to be addressed. Because of the potential danger these masks pose, storing it is important. The CDC recommends placing wet and dirty masks in a plastic bag until it is ready to be cleaned, as keeping it stored in a bag prevents transmission from the hands to the eyes, nose and mouth areas. Clean masks can be stored in a dry, breathable bag (paper and mesh fabric both work) until they are ready to be used.
Have you ever made any of these mistakes? Tell us what you think in the comments section below!