Last updated on 30 December 2020
The 5 most common mistakes when using a face mask
Through the COVID-19 pandemic wearing a face mask in public spaces has become the norm in most countries worldwide to contain the spread of the coronavirus. It is thus vital that you know how to wear your face mask properly and protect yourself and others from the COVID-19 infection.
In this blog, we are going to show you the 5 most common mistakes people make when they use a face mask.
Putting it on and removing it in the wrong way
Your hands should always be clean before you put the mask on, otherwise you’ll get the participles from your hands on the previously sterile mask (this happens for instance when your fingers touch and contaminate the inside part of the mask, neutralizing its protective function). When wearing and removing your face mask, only touch its ear loops and make sure it fits good. A mask should be changed or disinfected as often as every 2 hours, otherwise viral particles can accumulate on it and you are more likely to breathe them in and get potentially infected by the coronavirus. Also, make sure that after you remove it you wash your hands profusely.
Touching the mask with dirty hands or set it on a surface
When using a fabric face mask you should always keep in mind what its primary function is: protecting you and others from coronavirus contamination and the COVID-19 infection. Therefore it is very important that you do not touch your face mask while you wear it; once you take it off, fold the mask and keep it in a clean bag or container, do not sit it on a surface such as a table or a chair and avoid wearing it for all day. Also, remember that taking off your face mask and then reapplying it with contaminated hands can move the bacteria or virus directly into the breathable area, therefore make sure your hands are always clean before touching it- or, even better, avoid touching your face at all- and that you have always a small bag with you where you can put your face mask after using it.
Thinking that wearing a face mask is dangerous
Although WHO and the scientific community worldwide agree on the importance of wearing a face mask, there are still people convinced that covering their mouth and nose with a mask might be dangerous for their health or even lead to serious disease.
According to all the major infectious diseases experts, such as the renowned American virologist Dr. Fauci, wearing a face mask is a strong preventive measure to prevent the COVID-19 infection from spreading further.
Face masks basically have two purposes:
Contain the COVID-19 infection
When you are infected, masks work as a barrier to the viral particles you breathe out, which reduces the chance of you spreading the disease and infecting others.
Protect you from the coronavirus
Face masks help stop you from breathing in virus particles, reducing the chance of a potential COVID-19 infection.
Masks are better at containment than protection. Here's the problem: We have no idea who may be infected. A significant portion of COVID-19 patients is indeed asymptomatic and not aware of their infection, and there is clear evidence that those who develop symptoms are often most infectious in the early phase of their infection (i.e. when they still show no symptoms).
Obviously, wearing a face mask is not meant to replace other containment measures, such as hygiene and social distancing, which are fundamental means to limit the coronavirus infection spread.
Avoid washing it after use
Never forget to sanitize your mask: when wearing a reusable fabric face mask, not washing it is the same as wearing a contaminated mask. Cloth face masks can be washed in the washing machine with regular laundry, using normal detergent, or by hand with soap and water. Once clean, the mask should be thoroughly dried, on a clothesline or dryer.
Not wearing your face mask correctly
Too often people do not wear their face mask in the right way, which is equivalent to not wear at all. As per WHO’s advice, a face mask should fully cover your mouth and nose and should be adjusted so that it fits your face from nose to chin. If you wear a face mask under your nose, it might still protect others if you are coughing or sneezing, but it will not work the other way around and you risk getting infected by coronavirus if someone else nearby is sick and coughs.
Always remember that the purpose is to breathe through the mask, which grants you the maximum protection.
Don't forget to continue to wash your hands regularly and practice social distancing. The mask will not protect you unless these other steps are followed.
This blog is offered by Mondkatjes. We make durable fashion face masks in the Netherlands.