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The do's and don't's of wearing face masks

21st July 2020

With face masks or coverings set to become mandatory in shops in England from July 24th, there are still a lot of questions about them that the general public have. Mask wearing has never been commonplace in England before, so it might be helpful to learn some simple do’s and don’t of wearing them. And with a wide range of great value options available, get your face masks from UK Meds in preparation for the change in guidance!

Do’s

Do ensure your mask fits snugly

The purpose of a face mask or covering is to block potentially infected particles from being spread around so it’s important that it fits snugly to your face with as fewer gaps as possible. Respirator masks (like FFP2 or FFP3 masks) typically fit very snugly to the face, while a surgical mask is a looser kind of barrier. The better the fit, the better the protection.

Do learn the proper way to put on (and remove) your mask

As important as it is to wear a face covering, it’s equally important to ensure you’re doing it properly. We have a full blog post with instructions on how to put on and take off your mask to minimise the risk of spreading any germs while doing so.

Do wash your hands before and after putting it on or taking it off

Face coverings can help to protect the respiratory system but that doesn’t mean that the outside of them can’t carry potentially harmful germs. Whenever you’ve touched your mask or covering (to put it on, adjust it, or take it off), be sure to wash your hands well or use a hand sanitiser gel.

Do clean your mask properly after use

If you’ve opted for a reusable mask or washable face covering then cleaning it should be fairly simple, just follow the washing instructions. If you’ve got a respirator mask then the OSHA says that these can be reused as long as they’re soiled or damaged. For information on how to clean and reuse a respirator mask, view our blog post here.

Do continue to practise social distancing even when wearing a mask

While masks offer a certain level of protection, they don’t guarantee to stop the spread of coronavirus. Similarly, if you were to only practise social distancing but without a mask then you’d still only have a certain level of protection. Doing the two things together (wearing a face mask and staying at least 1 metre apart) can increase the effectiveness.

Don’t’s

Don’t wear your mask below the nose

A practise that seems to be appearing a lot is people wearing the mask only over their mouth. Coronavirus droplets can be transmitted through the nose and eyes as well, so while masks don’t protect your eyes, it’s important to make sure yours is covering your nose and mouth.

Don’t pull your mask down to eat and drink

When wearing a face mask, the area of skin on your neck is exposed to the outside world and therefore, to harmful droplets. If you pull your mask down below your chin, then the inside of the mask could pick up these droplets, and you could then inhale them when you pull the mask back into place. If you do need to remove your mask for any reason (like eating or drinking), then you should always remove it completely, via the proper method.

Don’t wear a mask that is damaged

Before putting on a face mask, you should always first check that it doesn’t have any tears or other signs of damage. If it does, then you should avoid wearing it because it may not be offering the protection you think it does. Try having more than one mask so that you can rotate them while cleaning one, and so that you have a spare in case one becomes damaged.

Don’t let a face mask give you a false sense of security

Face masks or coverings can help you slow the spread of coronavirus by protecting the respiratory system and preventing infecting droplets from being passed from one person to another. However, they do not 100% guarantee this. Don’t let wearing a mask make you forget to do other important safety measures like keeping your distance, avoiding touching your face and washing your hands thoroughly or using a hand sanitiser gel.