Wearing a face mask to prevent the spread of disease is commonplace in the health care industry. In fact, most of us would be outraged to have a serious procedure performed on us by medical staff who refused to wear masks.
Until the sudden advent of Covid-19, the average person gave little thought to wearing a face mask, and most seldom did. But, with growing threats of this virus to our communities, health experts are urging public use of face masks, businesses are requiring their employees to wear them under certain conditions, and local governments are applying sanctions in targeted situations. Additionally, there is an emerging group of concerned citizens who are voluntarily wearing face masks as a safety precaution for themselves and others.
The very act of a person coughing, sneezing, or talking can release germs into the air that might infect others standing nearby. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), wearing a mask can reduce the transmission of infectious airborne germs as people come into close physical proximity to each other.
How should your face mask be worn?
To maximize the benefits of wearing a face mask, follow these basic guidelines:
- Clean your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer before touching the mask.
- Make sure there are no obvious tears or holes on either side of the mask.
- Before putting the mask on your face, determine its proper placement in terms of front/back and top/bottom.
- Secure the mask snugly, but comfortably, around your nose and mouth. Use your nose to anchor it onto your face and your chin to prevent it from moving.
- Avoid touching the inside of your mask to prevent the risk of cross-contamination.
- After using your masks, toss the disposable ones and wash your cloth masks. Masks should always be clean and fresh before each use.
**Source: Multiple Healthcare Sites
Which face masks work best for you?
Thanks to human ingenuity, different types and styles of face masks are continuously being created. From respirators, to surgical masks, to cloth masks, the choices are staggering.
Go through reliable sources to research out the face mask that will guarantee you the best protection, price point, size, contour, and material.
Base your selection on the following considerations.
- Start with safety. Wear only disposable or cloth face masks that fall within acceptable safety standards. Cross-check with experts to guarantee that your choice of masks meets the criteria required to provide adequate protection from infectious airborne germs.
- Understand the risks. People should not wear masks if they are unable to take it off their faces or they have major breathing issues. Neither should children under the age of 2 due to the risk of suffocation.
- Fit the mask to your lifestyle. There are lots of fun and stylish designs for face masks. Why not coordinate your masks to your wardrobe or wear ones that become a personal expression of yourself?
Note: Give yourself a treat by purchasing a variety of masks that can be used on different occasions.
Where should you wear a mask?
(1) Areas that are high risk for exposure to infectious airborne germs, including grocery stores, pharmacies, airplanes, subways, hospitals, and other healthcare settings.
(2) All public areas where there is a high concentration of people and social distancing measures may not be feasible.
**Source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention
What is the downside to wearing face masks?
Wearing face masks can…
- Disrupt normal breathing patterns.
- Affect vision by partially covering the eyes.
- Irritate the skin if left on too long.
- Smear away make-up.
- Become hot and uncomfortable with extended use.
- Muffle the sound of the voice.
Why should you wear a face mask in certain situations?
It is the right thing to do to protect yourself and the people around you from Covid-19 or any other airborne infectious disease that might cause significant health issues. Despite the lack of visible symptoms, people can still be transmitters of harmful germs, and this is also true for you.
Written by: Patricia K. Flanigan, Smart Strategies for Successful Living
Our Recommendation: For additional information on masks, visit “Behind The Mask” by Hartzell Cobbs at: CLICK HERE.
Patricia K. Flanigan has worked in higher education for over 28 years. She holds a doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership from the University of La Verne as well as a M.A. in Latin American Studies and B.A. in Anthropology from the University of California, Los Angeles. Before retiring and moving to Idaho in 2015, she served as the dean of online education and learning resources at Saddleback College in Southern California.
She currently consults in higher education, volunteers for AARP, writes for a local magazine, and serves as an Affiliate Faculty member for BSU. Since February 2017, she has been the founding director for Smart Strategies for Successful Living, a community-based website designed to promote quality aging. As an educator, her focus is to inspire others to live and age well.