Ever since the coronavirus pandemic, individuals have been wearing a face mask. Whether it is going to the salon, mall, school, or office wearing a mask is the new norm. With a new lifestyle, lots of new questions arise, such as how to get longevity from your face mask, clean it, and store it.
A lot of individuals, though wear a mask, feel it gets uncomfortable around the nose and starts tugging on their ears, which can sometimes cause a slight headache. This causes them to move the mask back and forth as they walk indoors and outdoors. Some individuals even slide it down to their chin or, worse, take it off and carry it in their hands.
Unfortunately, this potentially exposes not only them but also those around them to the probability of getting germs. It also increases the risk of getting droplets on the outside of the mask, which can transfer onto the lower lip, chin, or even nose. Moreover, when you touch the mask to pull it down, you increase the probability of contaminating it. Since infectious droplets cause coronavirus through the mouth, nose, and eyes, such practices showcase negligence and defeat the very purpose of wearing a mask. Therefore, invest in good quality comfortable masks that you can wear for long hours without needing to take them off.
How to Properly Remove Your Mask?
Even if you must remove the mask, do so when you are inside your home or in your car. Ideally, you should do this by holding it from the ear loops, after which you should wash your hands with the best hand wash, such as Herbion Neem Hand Wash. However, if you are outdoors, you should sanitize using a 70% ethyl alcohol-based hand sanitizer such as Herbion Instant Hand Sanitizer. Simply take a dollop of Hand Sanitizer Gel onto your palms and rub them together, between your fingers, underneath nails, and on your knuckles until it absorbs completely. To add Herbion products to your collection, head over to Amazon.
Another common mistake people make is to hang their mask on the rearview mirror between uses and sometimes even throughout the day. If you reside in a low-risk area, then this practice is alright. However, if you are a frontliner and work at the hospital, it should be avoided. The best practice is to dispose of your mask correctly and wear a new one after each use. This lowers the risk of contamination.
In between uses and in the middle of the day, if you must remove your face mask, you should place it in an envelope, paper bag, or anything that will not retain moisture. Do not stow your mask in plastic bags as they are notorious for trapping moisture. This will promote the growth of bacteria on the mask, elevating your chances of getting sick and your skin breaking out in pimples.
Which Coronavirus Mask Should You Wear?
Since the market is flooded with options, price points, designs, and styles of masks, you should ideally choose one with multiple layers. These layers provide better protection against the virus and germs. Be sure to get one that fits snug on your face. Loose fittings leave room for germs and droplets to enter. According to the World Health Organization, one should wear a mask with water-repellent material on the outer and absorbent materials such as cotton on the inner layer.
The mask that offers the best protection is a medical N95 mask. However, since it is limited in supply, the CDC has asked the general public not to wear it, and instead leave it for frontliners at the hospital as they are exposed to the virus on the daily while taking care of patients.
Three-layer surgical masks offer excellent protection, as well. These are disposable and provide ample protection to the wearer against droplets.
Yet another good option to consider is a cotton-polypropylene-cotton cloth face mask. This best reusable face mask has one layer of synthetic material and two layers of cotton. A single layer cover offers protection from droplets while speaking, whereas a double-layer offers protection from droplets from sneezing or coughing.
To ensure the highest hygiene practices, adults and school-going children should carry two masks daily. Ideally, they should wear one before lunch, and one after washing hands as this minimizes the risk of germ infestation.
Can Face Masks Be Washed?
Disposable masks can be reused by individuals residing or traveling to low-risk areas until they are worn out, dirty, or damaged. The best way to clean face mask is to leave it to dry in sunlight or steam it. Disposable masks are too fragile to be cleaned with disinfectants and cleaners. Especially N95 masks, since they contain filters which can be easily damaged due to cleaning with improper methods.
In case you and your family wear cloth masks, the most effective way to clean them is by washing them in the laundry. For safety and hygiene purposes, wash masks in a separate load from your clothing items. This way, germs from the mask will not leach onto your clothing. Since the cleaning is quite easy, it is best to wash cloth masks every time you use them. Keep spare masks at home, whether reusable or cloth, so you can rotate them in between uses.
Can Face Masks Be Reused?
There are a lot of misconceptions among people, whether disposable masks can be reused or not. The name itself says it all. Medical-style disposable masks are designed to be worn once only and thrown away. However, if you are in a low-risk area of COVID-19, you can reuse your mask. Nonetheless, in between uses, you should leave the mask in a paper bag for at least three days. This way, even if there is any virus on top of it, it will gradually reduce.
To recapitulate, individuals should keep a few masks at home in rotation so that they can be used in between washes. You can buy COVID-19 face mask online or pick it up from the store, just be sure to wear one that is comfortable and effective. Wash your hands frequently and take preventative measures to ensure you remain safe and healthy.