There is lots of speculation about wearing masks during the Coronavirus pandemic. With many countries making mask wearing compulsory in public settings, lots of Irish people are starting to adopt the habit. Whether you wish to wear a mask as a precaution or not, there may very likely be an occasion when you are required to. This article aims at ensuring when you do, you know how to wear one correctly and safely.
The HSE and WHO guidance is the same, and includes the following advice for the safe wearing of masks to either protect yourself, or others from Covid 19. Remember though, masks will not protect you on their own, social distancing and hand hygiene remain at the forefront of infection control.
- Your mask must cover your nose AND mouth AND chin. I’ve seen many images and clips on tv of people pulling their mask down under their nose. This is not safe.
- Before you even touch a mask you need to wash your hands or use alcohol based hand gel.
- Masks can feel warm and uncomfortable to use when you are not used to them. Continue to breath normally and it will become easier within a few minutes.
- Masks should only be worn once they have been inspected for tears or damage. Do not wear a torn mask.
- Ensure there are no gaps between your face and the mask.
- Once you have put your mask on do not touch it. If you do, you need to wash your hands or use alcohol based hand gel straight away.
- When your mask gets damp you need to replace it.
- When removing a mask it is important not to touch the face covering. Use the ear loops or ties to move the mask away from your face and to place it straight into a bin/waste bag.
- Your mask must be disposed of safely – so that other people cannot come into contact with it.
- Do not reuse a surgical mask.
- After removing the mask, wash your hands or use alcohol hand gel.
The key message here is that masks should be used IN ADDITION to other infection control precautions not INSTEAD OF.