DISCLAIMER: Rules, regulations, and science about the UK pandemic may have changed since this article was written in March 2020, for updated news visit the World Health Organisation or the NHS website.
Over the course of this pandemic, official advice about face masks has been mixed. PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) was obviously needed for medical workers, but what about the general public? With the New Lockdown Update it seems the government has finally decided to advocate the use of face masks for general use, particularly for those who are going back to work and using public transport. When worn properly, protective equipment like a face mask can help protect you and others from the spread of the virus.
So how should you be using a face mask? Follow these simple steps to stay safe.
Protective equipment such as 3-Ply Surgical Face Masks and Disposable Gloves are most effective when combined with thorough hand washing. Before putting on your face mask, you should be washing your hands properly by following the 5 Steps To Hand Washing, using either soap and water or an alcohol-based Hand Sanitiser.
The point of the face mask is to provide a barrier between the virus and the most common points of transmission – your nose and mouth. Therefore, the most important step is to make sure the mask is covering both of these areas, that there are no gaps between your face and the mask and that it is fixed securely.
A common piece of advice during lockdown has been to avoid touching our faces when outside. This is because the virus can survive on surfaces for some time, and by touching our faces we risk carrying the virus from infected surfaces to our nose and mouth. This is one of the most common ways the disease transmits. This same advice applies to the face mask. Avoid touching it with your hands; if you do, you must wash your hands thoroughly (see step 1).
As effective as face masks are, they are not intended to be used forever. Therefore, it’s important to recognise when you should be replacing your face mask for a new one. Once the face mask has become damp or moist, it needs to be replaced. As a rule, you should never be wearing a mask for longer than a day. Remember that single-use masks are exactly that – they should not be used multiple times.
Once the face mask has fulfilled its use, the time has come to remove it and dispose of it. Use the straps to remove it from the back as you should not be touching the front of the mask (see step 3). The mask should be going immediately into a closed bin. Do not leave a used mask on surfaces, as this could be a hazardous source of infection. Once you’ve disposed of the mask into a bin, wash your hands immediately.
By following this advice when wearing a face mask, you’re not only keeping yourself safe, but helping to keep your local community safe by reducing the rate of infection.
Caring for your health during lockdown isn’t just about avoiding infection. We also need to make sure we’re taking care of our physical and mental health during these tough times. Thankfully, online pharmacies like e-Surgery not only provide protective equipment but also allow you stay safe at home by Ordering Meds Online. If you’re looking for ways to stay healthy and happy during quarantine, here are some ideas: