Use and Remove a Face Mask: The way COVID-19 is spreading it is likely that the use of face mask might become a new fashion for the first time. To move with the trend, it is essential you know more on how to use and remove a face mask as well as how to make it. And that is what we intend to discuss in this session.
What works best to limit infection?
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.
To reduce your risk of transmitting the virus, or coming into contact with it, the WHO recommends the following:
- Practice good hand hygiene by washing your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds at a time.
- Use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol if you don’t have access to soap and water.
- Avoid touching your face, mouth, and eyes.
- Keep a safe distance from others. The CDC recommends at least 6 feet.
- Avoid public places until you recover fully.
- Stay home and rest.
How the surgical mask’s three-ply layers works:
- 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.
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.
When should you wear a face mask?
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 a respiratory illness — in this case, wear a mask when you’re within 6 feet or closer to the person who is ill.
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 surgical masks:
- Don’t filter out smaller airborne particles
- Don’t fit snugly on your face, so airborne particles can leak in through the sides of the mask
Some studies have failed to show that surgical masks effectively prevent exposure to infectious diseases in community or public settings.
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.
How to put on a surgical mask
If you need to wear a surgical mask, take the following steps to put one on correctly.
Steps to 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.
- 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.
- If the mask gets soiled or damp, replace it with a new one.
- Clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
- Cover mouth and nose with mask and make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask.
- Avoid touching the mask while using it; if you do, clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
- Replace the mask with a new one as soon as it is damp and do not re-use single-use masks.
- To remove the mask: remove it from behind (do not touch the front of mask); discard immediately in a closed bin; clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
What not to do when wearing a surgical mask
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. Take this precaution.
- Don’t Touch the mask once it’s secured on your face, as it might have pathogens on it
- Don’t Dangle the mask from one ear
- Don’t Hang the mask around your neck
- Don’t Crisscross the ties
- Don’t Reuse single-use masks
If you have to touch the face mask while you’re wearing it, wash your hands first. Be sure to also wash your hands afterward, or use hand sanitizer.
How To Make the Face Mask
For lacing or cord, follow same steps, substituting item for elastic.
- Stack right sides of 2 pieces of cotton fabric together ensuring all raw edges of fabric are aligned. Be sure that any fabric design is placed horizontally!
- If using elastic, pin one end of each piece ½” below the raw edges at the top corners of the mask. Repeat with bottom end of elastic pieces ½” above the raw edges at the bottom of the mask. Then go to step #4.
- If using ties, pin one end of a fabric tie (use the end with raw edge) ½” below the raw edges at each of top corners. Pin one end of a fabric tie (raw edge) ½” above the raw edges at each of the bottom corners.
- Using ¼” seam, begin stitching around the outside of the mask. Begin on the bottom and sew around one side and then along the top of the mask. Leave a 2-3 inch opening along the fourth side of mask.
- Turn mask fabric right-side out. Use a pencil to help push out the seams in the four corners.
- Press the mask, making sure to carefully line up and fold in the edges of the fabric that are still open.
- Using straight pins or an iron, measure 2 or 3 evenly-spaced folds (approximately 1”) on each side of the mask. Make sure that the folds
go in same direction.
- Sew ¼” seam along the sides of the mask to hold the folds in place and close the small area of the open seam.
- Your mask is finished!
How to remove and discard a surgical mask
It’s important to remove the face mask correctly to ensure you don’t transfer any germs to your hands or face. You also want to make sure you discard the mask safely.
How to remove face mask: Take this 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.
- 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.
- 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.
How to Wear a Cloth Face Covering
- Cloth face coverings should
- Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
- Be secured with ties or ear loops
- Include multiple layers of fabric
- Allow for breathing without restriction
- Be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape