Wearing a mask is one of the main preventive measures that can help slow the spread of the coronavirus. Together with washing your hands frequently and practicing social distancing, masks have become indispensable for our daily life. But even though we have been wearing them for half a year, there is still a lot of confusion and debate about how and when you should wear a mask, as well as what type of mask you need to choose.
In hopes of clearing the air, we put together this little guide to help you understand how to properly wear a mask to protect both yourself and those around you.
What type of mask should I choose?
At first, masks were in very short supply and difficult to find, so people came up with various inventive methods to protect themselves. Now, however, the market is full of various kinds of masks, which is why many people wonder which type they should buy. Professional masks are the most sought after, but people in non-patient-care settings can receive the same level of protection with cloth masks as well.
The only thing you need to make sure of is that the mask you wear fits on your face without leaving large holes. For example, an organic blue face mask made out of cotton can be just as effective as a surgical mask for going grocery shopping.
How to correctly wear a mask
Wearing your mask correctly is perhaps more important than the type of mask you wear. You can go on and get the most professional mask out there, but if you only wear it around your mouth, you are doing it in vain.
According to the CDC, this is what wearing a mask correctly means:
- The mask should be covering both your mouth and nose
- Ensure it fits against the sides of your face
- Secure your mask with ear loops or ties
- Ensure it allows for unrestricted breathing
When do I need to wear a mask?
Some people think they only have to wear a mask if they are sick or feel unwell. And while this is true in regards to some diseases, the CDC pointed out that many patients with coronavirus are asymptomatic, which means there are no symptoms to signal a potential infection. If this person thinks they are not sick and goes out without wearing a mask, they could pass on the virus to someone who is really vulnerable.
Ideally, you should wear a mask whenever you leave the house, especially if you find it difficult to maintain at least 6 feet of distance from other people.
Do I still need to practice social distancing if I wear a mask?
Just as masks, social distancing is another preventive method meant to help keep the virus from spreading. It does not mean that you should not practice social distancing if you wear a mask or vice versa. To protect yourself and those around you, wash your hands frequently, practice social distancing as much as possible, and wear a mask whenever you leave the house.