In connection with the massive spread of coronavirus, the Ministry of Health of various countries called on citizens to wear medical masks to slow down the coronavirus.
What to do before putting on a medical mask
1. Wash hands thoroughly.
WHO recalls: a mask will be effective only if you combine its use with a thorough hand wash. Here’s how to proceed:
- wet your hands with warm water;
- apply soap in the palm of your hand;
- for at least 20 seconds, thoroughly rub the brushes with soap;
- rinse your hands with water to wash off the remnants of soap;
- wipe with a paper towel;
- then close the tap with the same towel so as not to touch it with clean hands;
- throw the towel in the bin.
If there is no soap or water nearby, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or wipe your palms and fingers thoroughly with alcohol wipes.
2. Check for mask defects
After removing the mask from the package, make sure that there are no holes or other damage to it.
3. Determine where the top and bottom
The upper part of the mask has a hard, easily bending edge. It is needed so that the mask repeats the shape of your nose as accurately as possible.
4. Try to determine where the inside is and where the outside is
Manufacturers who care about user convenience make masks two-tone. The interior with this design is usually white. And the outer one can be light gray, blue, greenish.
But, unfortunately, this is not always the case. If the mask does not have a white side or the colors of the surfaces do not differ, the task is complicated. In this case, you can try to determine by indirect signs.
For example, in some cases, the outside is slightly denser and stiffer (its task is to repel droplets of liquid). The inside is softer to reduce the risk of skin irritation and absorb droplets of your saliva.
It is sometimes possible to determine the sides by the logo applied to the surface of the mask. When you put on the mask, it will have to be read from the outside, not have inverted letters.
However, according to some experts, if you put on the mask on the “wrong” side, nothing bad will happen. So don’t worry much.
How to wear a medical mask
1. With clean hands, bring the mask to your face (inner side, if it could be identified)
It should cover the chin with the lower edge, and the nostrils and tip of the nose with the upper. Nostrils must be covered for sure!
2. Fix the mask on the face
How exactly depends on the type of accessory.
- Mask with earloops. Just put each loop in your ear.
- Mask with elastic loops. Put on the mask so that the lower loop is on the back of the head or neck, and the upper one is in the region of the crown.
- Mask with ties. Some masks come with strips of fabric on the top and bottom. Lift the mask by the upper ties and secure them with a bow just below the crown. Leave the lower ones free for now: they will need to be tied on the back of the head, but only after the next step.
3. Adjust the bow
Using your thumb and forefinger, shape the nose into the upper flexible edge of the mask.
4. Smooth the face mask
It should completely cover the chin and lower part of the nose. Use your fingers to firmly press the mask to your face and make sure there are no gaps between it and the skin.
How long can I wear a disposable mask?
There are only two rules:
- In no case do not wear the same mask for longer than a day.
- Replace it immediately if it is damaged or contaminated (you actively touched it with unwashed hands, were in it in a cramped, crowded room).
Try not to touch the mask while it is on your face. If you have to do this, be sure to wash your hands before and after touching.
How to remove the mask and what to do with it after
It is also important to free the face from the mask according to a certain algorithm.
- Wash hands thoroughly.
- Do not touch the front of the mask; most likely it contains viruses or bacteria.
- When removing the mask, hold on only to its loops or ties.
- Put the used mask in a plastic bag, tie it and throw it in the bin. Hospitals usually have special bins for the disposal of biohazardous items, such as used masks and gloves.
- Wash your hands again with warm water and soap or use a disinfectant.
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