How to Use a Mask Properly
As in the worst situation of the pandemic COVID-19, we have to adopt some masking guidelines to care for and protect ourselves, as well as the community.
As many of us in the community are choosing to wear masks, that we ensure that we are wearing them properly.
Here are some important points that we are going to discuss while wearing our masks:
* Never touch the outer layer of your mask whenever your mask is on your face. The outer layer of the mask is considered dirty.
*Don’t pull your mask upward or downward while you are wearing it. It should always fit properly on your face.
*Don’t dangle your mask. All these create opportunities for cross-contamination of yourself or other surfaces.
Always follow a few simple steps to keep yourself and others safe while wearing a mask. After using it whenever you remove and pull out a mask, make sure which side is the outer layer of the mask.
Whenever we take our mask off, we have to make sure it’s put into some clean area. We also store it in a clean area.
What we don’t do is put the mask in an area that’s not clean. An area that’s not clean would be like our purse or our pocket or any dusty surface.
So to put a mask on your face, we make sure it’s covering under the chin, covering the nose, and it’s nice and secure.
So again, do not touch the outside of the mask again and again. Don’t pull it below the chin, If you want to remove your mask for any reason the first thing is to clean your hands.
To maintain hand hygiene we can wash our hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer regularly.
If you want to remove the mask, you can remove that in a clean area from the ear loops. If you want to reuse it you have to maintain hand hygiene. For that wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer.
If you are touching the outside of the mask for a second, then again wash your hands with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer. These are a few tips for ensuring that you’re utilizing proper masking guidelines.
Which Face Mask is Best for COVID-19 Pandemic:
We have heard a lot about the different kinds of masks but all masks are not created equal.
On one side the masks claim to act as a barrier between us and our environment and on the other side those who claim to not act as a barrier but to kill germs such as bacteria and viruses.
Disposable masks are not as same as medical-grade surgical masks. We really don’t know what quality we are buying.
There is no other to say that if disposable masks offer the same protection as a medical-grade surgical mask provides. So for those of us who are not front-line workers, the first type of mask that is made of cotton is best.
The second version, which is a mix of cotton and spandex jersey which is more comfortable than the first one.
It is very hard to breathe in a silicon gill mask which creates a tight seal around our face.
It’s able to offer relatively airtight protection but it can also lead to skin irritation. So it may not be suitable for people with sensitive skin for their everyday use.
A virus is about 0.1 of a micron. It means that actually between these lines you can fit quite a lot of viruses like nanosilver or copper.
They have been tested for a lot of different viruses and it’s shown to be effective but specifically to the virus that causes COVID-19 it has to be tested and it has to be confusing.
The carbon filter mask is effective for air pollutants but for bacteria and for viruses it definitely has not been.
Many studies had shown its effectiveness. Unfortunately, the masks that offer the most protection are also oftentimes uncomfortable and they even lead to skin problems.
When choosing a mask basically it is needed that a mask with a minimum of three layers with an outermost layer that is water repellent. If possible a middle layer that acts as a filtration layer and an innermost layer.
Different Types of Face Masks That We Can Use During COVID-19 Pandemic:
The basic and surgical face masks for public use approved by CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and WHO (World Health Organization) are specially designed to prevent you from spreading the diseases and illness.
The different kinds of face masks are:
- Disposable surgical face mask
- N95 respirator
- The homemade or Basic cloth mask
- Cone-style masks
- Full-length face shield
- KN95 respirator
- Neck gaiters and balaclavas
Disposable Surgical Face Mask:
A surgical face mask is made from a thin, disposable material. Most of the Medical professionals who are currently operating and testing for COVID-19 are also wearing a version of this type of face mask. These face masks cover the nose and mouth properly.
You can also see these types of masks worn in hospitals by doctors and respiratory therapists.
This type of face mask is basically used by healthcare workers and medical staff.N95 face respirators offer the most protection against novel coronavirus and other respiratory diseases.
N95 masks protect the person wearing the mask because they filter out 95% of particles from the air breathed in.
Wearing any other masks like cotton and disposable is intended to protect others around you from your own respiratory droplets and “spray.”
The CDC states that cloth and disposable masks can also filter particles at varying efficiencies, so they offer personal protection as well.
N95 masks are generally in short supply and should be reserved for healthcare providers. The CDC does not recommend the general public to wear N95 masks for their personal use.
Homemade or Basic Cloth Mask:
According to an article published in The Journal of Family Practice, single-layer masks provide only 1% particle filtration and small particles filtered by a double-layered cotton mask are about 35%.
So these masks provide personal protection to the wearer. Cotton face masks can decrease droplets of spray from 8 feet to 2 ½ inches. These masks reduce the amount of potentially virus-containing particles released into the air.
The effectiveness of a homemade or basic cloth face mask largely depends upon its construction. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, woven cotton fabrics, such as quilting cotton, are best.
Single-layer fabric masks are less effective than double or triple-layer masks. These face masks are a standard, for everyday use.
It’s a version recommended for public use in the midst of COVID-19. You can wear this type of face mask while going to the shops, stores, or any other open public place.
Cone – Style Masks;
The cone-style face masks are molded masks that fit over the mouth and nose. Usually, there is also a strip of metal at the top. So the wearer can be secured by the mask at the bridge of the nose.
According to a study by Arizona State University researchers, cone-style face masks are less effective at containing droplets and spray than the cloth face masks constructed of quilting cotton.
Full Length Face Shield:
This full-length face shield is a mask that is a flimsier, plastic version of the glass. We saw this worn by welders.
The best part of this mask is that it covers the entire face from forehead to chin and is secured with a cushioned headband.
This full-length face shield is not an ideal solution during the COVID-19 crisis as it’s tough to breathe in overtime.
KN95 masks are very similar to N95 masks. Both N95 and KN95 masks can capture about 95% of tiny particles in the air.
The biggest difference is that N95 masks are able to capture larger particles than KN95 respirators.
KN95 masks are made to China specifications and standards and N95 masks are made to U.S. design standards. Both are rated to filter out 95% of very small particles.
A bandana is a piece of cloth that is triangular or square in shape. That is often worn as a head or neck covering.
A bandana over your mouth and nose is a way to keep dust and other particles out of the respiratory system.
Bandanas provide some protection against droplets, cough or sneeze related spray. Without cover of any kind of nose or mouth protection, droplets can spray more than 8 feet.
According to research from Florida Atlantic University, wearing a bandana can reduce that to about 4 feet.
Neck Gaiters and Balaclavas
Neck gaiters are essential, a tube of fabric that’s worn around the neck and can be pulled up or down, as needed, to protect the face and neck. As well as balaclavas are tight-fitting garments that cover the head and neck.
These can be used to provide some protection of the mouth and nose and may protect from the spread of the viruses..
Best vs Worst Face Masks for Covid-19 Prevention:
Wearing masks is one of the most important things that we can do during the situation of the pandemic called COVID – 19. It actually curbs the spread of COVID.
It is a kind of brushing your teeth regularly before you go to bed at night or when you get in the car, putting on your seatbelt, or stopping at the red light on the traffic signal. It is just simply one of those things that keeps everyone safe.
COVID-19 is actually a respiratory virus. It generally infects the lungs and it has been emphasized that these changes are found in the lungs of people who had severe COVID and died.
So one of the great universities of our country published a study taking a look at which masks were most effective to protect us. Surprisingly they also took a look at which mask is best to use and which mask actually doesn’t really work at all.
There are mainly three masks that work good, and two that don’t work really well. The studies show that actually N95, which is used by mainly healthcare workers.
In the beginning, we discussed the N95 respirator. It’s not surprising that N-95 is one of the best masks among all the different types of masks that healthcare workers use in the hospital to stay safe.
It actually seals around the face. But for the public, it is not needed to find one of these masks because they’re still being reserved and saved for our healthcare workers.
The KN95 is actually more easily available in the market. N95 and KN95 masks are not exactly the same but these are pretty good for use.
The next best mask to the KN95 and N95 masks are surgical masks. Actually, they are procedure masks. Now, these are pretty easy to get and the important thing about these is that they are safe to use.
They are comfortable to wear and you can wear them the whole day. The surgical masks are for single use only. So when you have used them, you can just toss them out.
Research from Duke University showed that poly cotton masks are equally effective as the procedure or surgical masks.
They have two or three layers. Now three layers are better than two. They are really comfortable and convenient, and they are washable.
Wearing a bandana is definitely better than not wearing a mask, but it’s only a little bit better than nothing at all. So it’s not that great and just not a good one.
Another worse one Neck gaiters. It is worse than wearing nothing. The shape of the gaiter allows respiratory droplets to actually become finer droplets to spray out in the air, which is worse than not wearing a mask at all.
So it’s simple to wear a mask to protect yourself and other people. It is also easy to maintain a safe distance and the most important thing is to wash your hands with soap and water or use sanitizer.
Wearing a Face mask can really stop COVID-19 or not:
By the advice of CDC, WHO, and other healthcare experts it has been proved that wearing masks can help to slow the spread of COVID-19.
It is very important to note that a part of protecting ourselves and others from COVID-19 is adapting to new information.
As a society we are learning from scientists who are studying the virus in real time. When it comes to masks, the benefits have become increasingly clear that it is not to protect ourselves so much, but to proactively protect those around us.
Scientists now know that people can spread the coronavirus before they have symptoms. It means that none of us should assume we can’t infect someone else just because we don’t feel sick.
As we know that the virus primarily stays in a person’s throat and lungs. So the main way many people pass along infections is from their mouth and nose, similar to other respiratory infections.
An individual particle that is very small, certainly small enough to pass through cloth. The coronavirus almost never travels alone. COVID-19 mainly spreads by moisture that comes out of our mouths and noses.
This can be an obvious thing when we cough or sneeze. A less obvious way is when we’re talking and breathing.
Even in these cases, our lungs are pumping out very small droplets of moisture that might contain viruses.
We know that cloth masks work to capture these droplets. That’s why experts are now confident in recommending that people should wear a mask.
Healthcare workers use the special N95 masks around patients or in the laboratory. A cloth mask can be used repeatedly to catch these droplets from our mouths. Even if it is homemade and you can reuse it before cleaning it.
We can use our knowledge of how to stop the virus from spreading. But we need to work together for this strategy combined with social distancing, hand washing, and other measures, like wearing a mask is a powerful tool to fight the virus.