How To Use Face Masks For COVID-19 Protection
With the global pandemic wreaking havoc on our ability to interact, we are learning to adjust and adapt so we can stay safe as we return to the new normal. This includes wearing a mask when we go outside or interact with others in a public setting.
Cloth masks serve as the mechanical barriers that can help prevent virus particles from spreading, especially since a person can feel healthy and fit but still be sick. Due to the nature of most viruses, anyone of us can be walking around and spreading the disease, even if we don’t feel and look ill. If you have the virus, a mask can prevent you from spreading it to others especially if social distancing is strictly observed.
If you are interacting with someone in public and that person happens to have the virus, a mask prevents him or her from spreading the virus and protects you from exposure to the virus particles that would otherwise be floating in the air.
Despite the basic mechanics involved with face masks and how they work, it’s not unusual for people to have questions about masks, their efficacy, and proper use. After all, face masks are the new ubiquitous accessory for this year and perhaps in the coming years. Read on to get the answers to the most common face mask questions that you or your friends are asking.
How Do I Put On My Face Mask?
First, determine which is the correct side of the mask and look for the upper edge, which often has a bendable seam that you can mold over the bridge of your nose for a better fit.
Using clean hands, take one ear loop and place it around one ear and follow with the other ear loop over the other ear.
Adjust and mold the mask over your nose. Pull the bottom part of the mask to completely cover the mouth and the chin.
How Should My Face Mask Fit?
Your face mask should snugly cover the sides of your face, your nose, and your mouth. A mask is too big if the sides of the mask puff outward and you can slip a finger or two between the seams of the mask and your cheeks.
You will know that your mask is the right size if it fits snugly, covering your nose and mouth without pressing too tightly against your face. The straps of the mask should also fit at the back without being too tight.
If it is too tight, it might irritate your face or make breathing difficult, causing you to touch your mask and contaminate your hands. Wash your hands right away when this happens.
When Should I Wear My Mask?
The CDC in an official advisory recommends wearing a face mask every time you venture out into public spaces where you can interact with others. It is important to wear face masks when out in public and you expect to stay in small, enclosed spaces, like inside a car, the elevator, shops, and the like.
If you are going to the grocery store, shopping in retail stores, buying medications at the pharmacy, or riding a taxi or the subway, do so while wearing a mask. If you plan on going for a jog or a bike ride in a wide-open public space, you can forgo the mask, but it is best to have one handy in case you need to wear it after your workout.
Can I Remove My Face Mask While Out In Public?
Ideally, you should keep your mask on the entire time that you are outside and refrain from touching it until you are back inside your home. However, if you are feeling short of breath or you want to breathe more comfortably, you can remove your face mask temporarily as long as you do it correctly and you are within a safe distance from the next person.
How Do I Remove My Mask Correctly?
Official health agency websites provide comprehensive instructions on proper mask-wearing. According to the WHO, you should always start with clean hands. Wash your hands first before touching your mask. After drying your hands, reach both hands back to touch the ear loops and gently remove, pulling the mask away from your face.
If your mask has ties instead of loops, untie the bottom bow and the top bow before pulling the mask away from the face. If your face mask comes with bands, lift the bottom strap over your head and follow with the top strap, and pull the mask away from the face. Dispose of the used mask properly and wash your hands with soap and water right away.
How Often Should I Wash My Cloth Mask?
Wash your mask after each wear or after every day of use, according to the Mayo Clinic. Use hot water to wash the mask and dry like any normal piece of cloth. Handle newly washed masks with clean hands.
When buying bulk cloth face masks, be sure to ask how many times your cloth mask can be washed before it needs to be replaced. Typically, you want a cloth mask that can last over 15-20 washes. Otherwise, the quality of the mask might not be suitable for purchase.
What Fabric Is Best For Face Masks?
Breathable fabrics sewn with at least three layers are often good to wear on a daily basis. The most common face masks are made of cotton or polyester in multiple layers which can serve as an effective barrier for COVID-19 particles in the air.
Just make sure that your mask is made of more than one layer. Of course, medical grade N95 masks are the most protective, but are mostly only available to medical professionals. As long as it’s 3 layers of fabric, you should be fine.
If it’s more than 3 layers of fabric, it may inhibit proper breathing and feel very heavy on your face, so stick with 3 layers for the best balance of protection and comfort.
Which Is Better: Cloth or Surgical Face Masks?
While surgical masks are designed to prevent the entry of very tiny virus particles, surgical masks are hard to reuse and wash properly. Cloth masks offer the right mix of usability and protection for everyday use, especially if your cloth mask comes with multiple layers. Even homemade masks have been shown to be effective in serving as physical barriers against droplets and other particles in the air.
Where To Buy Face Masks?
You can typically buy cloth face masks from your local general store or pharmacy. You can also buy face masks online. Opt for bulk face masks to have an ample supply for yourself and your family. Most face masks are made to fit all sizes and can be tightened or loosened for a good fit. Look for face masks with a breathable inner layer and a water-repellent outer layer to ensure that they are good for general use.
We have a wide range of face mask options, including bulk face masks for kids, as well as bulk disinfectant wipes and bulk hand sanitizer options to keep you protected from COVID-19 this Fall and Winter.
If you are looking for very large quantities of PPE equipment, send us an email to see our entire list of options, from N95 masks to gowns and shoe covers.