Face masks have long been used in a variety of ways to protect someone’s health, whether it’s dentists using them in surgeries, construction workers using them to avoid inhaling harmful air pollutants, or any other use — and now with the coronavirus pandemic they are even more vital.
Countries around the world have issued “stay at home” and “social distancing” orders as they struggle with how to respond to the virus known as COVID-19. As part of these orders, some governments have either mandated or suggested that the general public use widely available face masks whenever they step outside or if they to meet people for essential services.
The call for people to wear masks is welcome during the pandemic, but it also helps to highlight that wearing face masks can be a smart move in a number of potentially risky situations.
Why should I wear a face mask?
The simple answer is that it can help to prevent you inhaling harmful germs or pollutants.
The longer explanation is that face masks not only protect the wearer, but they also protect other people from potentially becoming infected by you. In the unfortunate event that you have COVID-19 or another disease that can be transmitted by droplets in the air, you risk passing these infectious germs on if you do not cover your mouth when talking to others.
And it’s not just talking that poses a risk of human-to-human transmission. As people go about their daily lives in public and sneeze or cough, that produces germs that then land on surfaces that other people will touch. Extensive research has found that many of these germs can last for a very long time, meaning someone else can get sick if they touch the same surface. A face mask will block germs from spreading from an infected person breathing, sneezing, or coughing.
In addition to protecting against germs, face masks also can be used to block out harmful air pollutants like particulate matter that are also proven to cause respiratory harm.
That’s why it’s vital to use face masks to protect your health and the health of others.
What’s the right way to wear a face mask?
Thankfully, it’s a simple process for wearing a face mask, with a few easy steps.
- You should carefully wash both hands with water and soap before you touch a mask
- Take your mask out of its packaging and inspect it to ensure it has no tears or holes
- If your mask has long ties, you should position the mask on your face then take the right and left ties and pull them behind your head and knot them tightly
- If your mask has ear loops, you should simply latch the loops around your eyes. This should automatically position the face mask as intended
- If your mask has bands, balance the mask on your nose and then take the top band over your head before pulling the lower strap over your head to the neck’s nape
Once your mask is in place, you should check it fits comfortably and correctly.