Face masks have been proven to be highly effective at reducing the spread of germs. But are you wearing yours correctly? If not, you could be missing out on this benefit. If you’re not wearing a face mask properly, you may as well not be wearing one at all.
It’s important to know what the experts recommend so that you can keep yourself safe. Keep reading to learn how to properly wear a face mask.
When to Wear a Face Mask
A good rule of thumb to start with is that if you’re indoors in a place that’s not your own home, you should keep your face mask on at all times. This includes all stores, other peoples’ homes, public transport, doctor’s offices, and so on. Even in places where the air is being vented and circulated regularly, such as on an airplane, it’s still best practice to wear a face mask.
If you’re outdoors and around others, as well, you should also be wearing a face mask at all times. While outdoors offering a marginal increase in safety than being indoors, viruses and germs can still be spread through the air. You should only remove your mask for a prolonged period of time if you are completely alone outdoors.
The Best Types of Face Masks
It’s important to be aware of the different kinds of personal protective equipment and how well each one protects you. The masks which offer the highest level of protection from airborne particles are N95 and surgical masks. There’s a reason why healthcare workers choose to wear these – their construction offers the best available performance in blocking virus and germ particles.
Two-layer cloth masks are better than nothing, but they will not offer the same level of protection as N95 or surgical masks. It’s better to rely on these for outdoor use than for, say, running errands at the store.
Finally, the lowest-ranking masks are not really masks at all – scarves, bandannas, and thin gaiters are simply not designed to block airborne particles in the way medical masks are.
How to Properly Wear a Face Mask
Doctors recommend that a mask fit snugly from above your nostrils to your chin. There should be a tight seal against your face all around the sides of the mask.
If your mask is loose and slipping, then unfiltered air can enter your nose and mouth, as if you’re not wearing a mask at all. If your mask is too loose, try adjusting the bands around your ears. If it is not adjustable, hair ties or rubber bands can help you tighten the fit.
You may see some people wearing a mask below their nostrils, but this is incorrect and does not offer adequate protection. You can breathe in virus and germ particles through your nose as easily as through your mouth.
Keep Yourself Informed
Now that you know the best kinds of masks and how to properly wear a face mask, you can better keep yourself and those around you safe.
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