Face Mask Do's and Don'ts

Don't Make These Mistakes With Your Face Mask, How To Wear Your Face Mask

At this point we're all probably suffering from some form of coronavirus pandemic fatigue. And while we may want to live as normally as possible, in this new reality as cases still continue to rise in some countries, face coverings and mass public efforts are essential to stemming the spread. The CDC has issued a recommendation for people to wear a non-medical, cloth face mask in public and many states like New York have a mask mandates. Research has shown that masks can reduce the spread of airway particles/germs. Recent studies have also further revealed that face masks can also protect the people wearing them by lessening the severity of symptoms, or in some instances, preventing infection entirely. Wearing face masks is so important because some people who are infected are asymptomatic meaning they show no symptoms but can still transmit the virus. COVID-19 is very real and wearing a face mask does not reduce oxygenation. Adapting to face coverings in our everyday lives comes with certain considerations in order for them to work properly.

Find A Mask That Works For You
Your mask should fit comfortably and properly for it to do it's job. Make sure that whatever option you choose, that it allows you to breath properly and feels comfortable. Certain materials are more lightweight and breathable so try to find what works best for you. If your mask causes discomfort in any way, you're more likely to touch it more often to adjust it, which can introduce germs and defeat it's purpose.

Wear It Correctly
Your face mask needs to be worn correctly to work properly. It should cover both your mouth and nose it will shield them from any virus passing in or out. If you wear it below your nose, you've just slashed its effectiveness by half. And wearing it on your chin renders it's pretty much useless.

Make Sure It Fits
Fit is just as important as how you wear it.  Keep in mind that an effective mask should fit comfortably over your mouth and nose with no gaps between your face and the mask.

Don't Touch It
Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before putting on a mask. Be mindful of keeping your hands away from your face while you're wearing it, If your hands come in contact with coronavirus or other microbes, and you touch or scratch the surface of your mask, you could potentially breathe in those germs.

Don't Mess Around With It
Taking your mask off and putting it back on repeatedly, or constantly fussing with the straps, can potentially contaminate it,  Try your best to observe a strict hands-off policy while you're wearing it.

Don't Get It Wet
A face mask will lose effectiveness and become more susceptible to germs if it gets damp or wet. Don't touch it with your tongue and if your mask becomes wet for some reason, try to switch it out for a new one as soon as possible. And make sure your masks are completely dry after washing and before wearing.

Don't Put It In Your Pocket
According to the Mayo Clinic, storing a mask in your pocket for later use is inadvisable as this practice can lead to contamination. If you must store your mask, fold it inward so the contaminated area touches itself, and put it in a paper bag. Paper is a better option than plastic, because paper allows for more air circulation, which helps any moisture to evaporate.

Don't Wear It Twice
If using a disposable mask, dispose of it once you're at home. If you're using a cloth mask or other type of fabric face covering, you should wash it after each day's wear.

Take It Off Properly
When taking off your mask, use clean hands and don't touch your eyes, nose or mouth because you can potentially transfer germs that way. Remove your mask by it's straps or ties only, and wash your hands immediately after you take it off.

Wash Your Mask
After you've worn any mask out in public, consider it potentially contaminated. Reusable cloth masks should be washed and disinfected after each use so it makes sense for you to have a few to rotate between so you're not repeatedly using a mask that could be dirty. Some masks can be laundered in the washing machine or you can hand wash and line dry to encourage their durability. Always use the hottest water temperature appropriate to the type of fabric and allow to dry completely before wearing again.

Don't Spray Your Mask With Chemicals
If you need to clean a cloth mask, wash it. Don't try to disinfect a cloth or paper mask by spraying it with chemical disinfectants as you wouldn't want to breathe in the chemical residue that comes along with it.

Don't Share Your Mask
You should consider every mask single-use to be thrown away or washed after use. Don't ever share your mask with others especially if you've already worn it.

Don't Forget to Wear Your Mask
This one may the most important as all the evidence is clear that wearing a face mask can seriously reduce the spread of coronavirus and any mask is better than no mask though research has shown that certain options may be more effective than others. If you're wearing a neck gaiter, you may as well not be wearing anything at all. Wear a mask and while you're at it, also be sure to social distance when you're out, avoid  crowds and wash your hands well and often.



So what type of mask is everyone wearing? I rotate between fabric masks, surgical masks and KN95 masks depending on where I'm going and how long I'm going to be out. For fabric masks, I like this 2 layer 100% cotton Vida mask with adjustable straps and a hidden, integrated metal nose-piece. It comes with changeable multi-layer PM2.5 filter featuring 2 layers of meltblown filter and 1 layer of carbon activated filter. And it's only $10 with a variety of color options so my husband and I both have a few to rotate between. I also have a few fabrics masks from Etsy that I'm partial to if I want something a little more decorative. I like this shop for her lightweight Liberty print fabric masks and this shop for her reversible 3 layer masks in fun designs that fit like KN95 masks. As far as disposable options, I always have a box of 3 ply surgical masks on hand for going downstairs or to shop nearby. I always do this hack to make surgical masks fit better (this works best for those with smaller faces). When I have to wear my mask for an extended amount of time like physical therapy, I wear KN95 masks because they filter out more than 95 percent of particles. They are also more comfortable and easy to breathe in because they are designed to sit away from the face. I was wearing one here. They're slightly big for me but still have a snug fit so they work. We also have a supply of KF94 masks which I really like the design of but unfortunately those are just way too big to sit on my face properly so my husband uses them.

Note: The general public should avoid purchasing N95 masks as they have become scarce again and should really be prioritized for frontline and healthcare worker use.

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Photo: Alex Bramall for Edeline Lee

17 comments

The Exclusive Beauty Diary said...

These are such a great advice and I completely agree with you. Thank you for sharing.

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Doctor Anne said...

I wear cloth masks when I am outside, I think they have become my number one purchased clothing item of 2020. With the frequent washing, one needs to have options!

Omaye said...

I wish I could carry wear this on a printed shirt and walk around announcing it as a PSA. I love how you said not to forget to wear your mask. Something so simple, yet people are so defiant to wearing it. I can understand if you've forgotten, I mean it wasn't until fairly recently that wearing mask became a phenomenon in our everyday lives, but anti maskers.....another story.
Love this post as it reflects the issues that are currently happening. Also lovely writing.
xxxxx

Wishing you the best!
xxxx

https://ooomaye.com

Ivana Split said...

Great tips for mask wearing! We really should refrain from touching it with our hands.

Dressed With Soul said...

I totally follow already all your tips but I'm pretty convinced that most of the poeple don't follow these important rules. Therefore, thanks a lot for sharing!
xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena
www.dressedwithsoul.com

Emmylou said...

Awesome post, chingu! It drives me crazy when I see people wearing it under the nose! And so agree about not touching it while wearing. My eldest is guilty of this, and it drives me crazy too! He's been good lately, but when school starts, I really am nervous. Well, not just for him but for everyone:( Anyhoo, thanks for sharing this, and you stay safe, my friend. XOXO

Pilar said...

These are such good tips Rowena! When I first wore a mask my mom noticed I was wearing it incorrectly around my nose. She showed me the correct way to wear the mask. Did I mentioned my mom is a nurse?! so naturally she would notice lol.

ALLIE NYC said...

These are great tips indeed. I am wearing reusable masks and not disposable ones--bad for the environment. Yup "some countries" as in the good ole U.S of A. 5% of the worlds population and quarter of the worlds cases. Mainly because people refuse to listen when it comes to wearing masks and social distancing.

Allie of
www.allienyc.com

R's Rue said...

Great tips

Jackie Harrison said...

I wear reusable ones and I switch them also wash them. Great helpful tips.

Kinga K. said...

Very important tips :)

Paola Lauretano said...

Great tips Rowena, thanks for sharing this useful post!
Happy mid-August my dear!
xoxo

Mica said...

This is great advice! When we were at an appointment for my son the other week it was interesting watching the doctor following all the safety guidelines - we'd heard about them of course, but I'd never seen it in practice before, last time I was around someone in PPE I was getting a test for the virus and wasn't paying attention to what was going on as I was worried about the test, haha! it was interesting seeing the hand washing before and after, the carefully touching the straps not the mask, how to take it off and on. At the moment it's only requested to wear a mask while at the grocery stores, and we shop online mostly so we don't go often. when things are missing or out of stock I have had to go in store though and I've been masking up then. Just with little fabric masks the craft stall at the opshop had made - I don't need to buy a lot of masks as we are out so infrequently, it's easy to keep our distance other times.

Hope that you are having a nice weekend :)

Away From Blue

The Exclusive Beauty Diary said...

Thank you so much for sharing this detail post about masks. It is crazy how that object become must have in everyday life.

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little luxury list said...

Thanks for these tips! I never thought I'd be wearing face masks for every public outing, but just do it. Yes, it is mandatory here now too but at least we all have lots of options. I'm glad to be living in a culture where people are cognizant of their impact collectively.

Evi Erlinda said...

I use both disposable and reusable masks :)
Thank you for the tips to wear mask properly.

The Liberty Belle said...

Great tips for the times! Thanks for sharing.