CDC recommends wearing a Face Mask (or rather Cloth Face Coverings) in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Like grocery stores and pharmacies, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.
Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.
As a precaution, face masks should not be placed on young children under age 2. As well as, anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, or incapacitated. Or otherwise, anyone who is unable to remove the mask without assistance.
For your information, the face mask coverings recommended are neither surgical masks nor N-95 respirators. Simply, because those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers. In addition to other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.
What are Surgical Masks?
Before the rise of Coronavirus, surgical masks are mainly used by healthcare workers, first medical responders, and other medical-related practitioners.
But, with the high rise in demand, it’s highly recommended that (due to their medical specifications) they should be left out for medics.
By definition, a surgical mask is a loose-fitting, disposable mask that’s rectangular in shape. With the mask having elastic bands or ties that are looped behind your ears or tied behind your head to hold it in place.
Also, a metal strip may be present at the top of the mask and can be pinched to fit the mask around your nose.
The surgical mask’s three-ply layers work as follows:
- The outer layer repels water, blood, and other body fluids.
- The middle layer filters certain pathogens.
- The inner layer absorbs moisture and sweat from exhaled air.
A properly worn three-ply surgical mask may help block transmission of large-particle microorganisms from droplets, sprays, splatters, and splashes. The mask may also reduce the likelihood of hand-to-face contact.
However, the edges of surgical masks don’t form a tight seal around your nose or mouth. Therefore, they can’t filter out small airborne particles such as those transmitted by coughing or sneezing.
Why is Face Mask important?
As at the moment, readers of various blogs are aware that there is little or no trust in the current reported COVID-19 data. And no matter where we look, we cannot get a handle on the essential facts that we crave for. Or even at times, we get two or more completely different answers to the same question.
In general, wearing a face mask often helps people feel protected and reassured. But, can any of the cloth face coverings keep you from being exposed to or transmitting certain infectious diseases?
And, if face masks do shield you from infectious diseases, such as COVID-19, is there a proper way to put them on, take them off, and discard them? Stick around and learn more about that towards the end of this blog.
But, before that, blow is a Simple Step-by-step video tutorial guide on how to make your own face mask;
As of today, the world health workers continue to study the spread and effects of the Novel Coronavirus across various niches. Basically, we all know from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with Coronavirus lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”).
And that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms. This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity. For example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms.
In light of this new evidence, the CDC recommends wearing face coverings in public settings. Especially, where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Like grocery stores and pharmacies, especially, in areas of significant community-based transmission.
When should I wear a Face Mask?
First of all, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends using surgical masks only if you:
- have a fever, cough, or other respiratory symptoms
- are well but caring for someone with respiratory illness — in this case, wear a mask when you’re within 6 feet or closer to the person who is ill.
Secondly, although a surgical mask helps trap larger respiratory droplets, it can’t protect you from contracting the Novel Coronavirus, which is known as SARS-CoV-2.
That’s because of surgical masks don’t:
- filter out smaller airborne particles
- fit snugly on your face, so airborne particles can leak in through the sides of the mask
Furthermore, some studies have failed to show that surgical masks effectively prevent exposure to infectious diseases in a community or public setting.
At present, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) doesn’t recommend that the general public wear surgical masks or N95 respirators to protect from respiratory illnesses like COVID-19. Healthcare providers and first responders need these supplies, and there’s currently a shortage of them.
However, in the case of COVID-19, the CDC does advise the general public to wear cloth face coverings to prevent the spread of the disease. The CDC also provides instructions on how to make your own face cloth.
How do I Put on a Face Mask?
Eventually, surgical masks may protect against larger airborne particles, while N95 respirators provide better protection against smaller particles.
Not forgetting, putting on and taking off these face masks correctly may help protect you. As well as the health of those around you from transmitting or contracting pathogens.
Although face masks may help reduce the spread of some disease-causing organisms, evidence suggests otherwise. That using face masks may not always protect you or others from exposure to certain pathogens.
Equally important, if you have a respiratory illness, the best way to minimize transmission is to avoid other people. The same applies if you want to avoid contracting a virus.
Below are the correct steps you should follow while putting on and removing off your face mask.
Step One: Putting on a Face Mask
- Before putting on the mask, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or rub your hands together thoroughly with alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Check for defects in the face mask, such as tears or broken loops.
- Position the colored side of the mask outward.
- If present, make sure the metallic strip is at the top of the mask and positioned against the bridge of your nose.
- If the mask has:
- Earloops: Hold the mask by both ear loops and place one loop over each ear.
- Ties: Hold the mask by the upper strings. Tie the upper strings in a secure bow near the crown of your head. Tie the bottom strings securely in a bow near the nape of your neck.
- Dual elastic bands: Pull the top band over your head and position it against the crown of your head. Pull the bottom band over your head and position it against the nape of your neck.
- Mold the bendable metallic upper strip to the shape of your nose by pinching and pressing down on it with your fingers.
- Pull the bottom of the mask over your mouth and chin.
- Be sure the mask fits snugly.
- Don’t touch the mask once in position.
- Replace the mask immediately it gets damp or soiled.
Step Two: While in use of Face Mask
Of course, Yes! Having your face covered is one thing, but making sure that it’s also well protected is another.
So, once the mask is positioned securely, there are certain precautions to keep in mind to ensure you don’t transfer pathogens to your face or hands.
- touch the mask once it’s secured on your face, as it might have pathogens on it
- dangle the mask from one ear
- hang the mask around your neck
- crisscross the ties
- reuse single-use masks
Step Three: Removing and discarding Face Mask
Obviously, it’s important to remove the face mask correctly to ensure that you don’t transfer any germs to your hands or face.
You also want to make sure you discard the mask safely. Below are the steps to taking off a face mask;
- Before you take off the mask, wash your hands well or use hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching the mask itself, as it could be contaminated. Hold it by the loops, ties, or bands only.
- Carefully remove the mask from your face once you:
- unhook both ear loops, or
- untie the bottom bow first, followed by the top one, or
- remove the bottom band first by lifting it over your head, then do the same with the top band
- Holding the mask loops, ties, or bands, discard the mask by placing it in a covered trash bin.
- After removing the mask, wash your hands thoroughly or use hand sanitizer.
- How to Wear a Cloth Face Covering
- Handwashing | Life is Better with Clean Hands
- Hand Sanitizer | Best Practices For Personal Hygiene
- COVID 19 Virus | How Does It Spread & Last On Surfaces?
- How to make a non-medical coronavirus face mask – no sewing