At this point in life, most of us are wearing face masks while out and about. This has become the new normal. But what if I told you…you might be wearing it wrong?
If you don’t wear your face mask the correct way, you will still be risking the spread and chance of catching COVID-19.
If you are considered an essential worker, chances are, face masks have become part of your dress code. And for good reason.
As the spread of the virus continues, we all are doing our part to keep the world as safe as possible.
But since many of us aren’t used to wearing face masks (unless you work in the medical field), we’re here to help breakdown the top 5 mistakes that people make when wearing face masks.
5 Mistakes You May Be Making While Wearing A Face Mask
1. Your Mask Is Only Covering Your Mouth
We get it, masks are uncomfortable. But lowering your mask to where it doesn’t fully cover your nose is not the way to go. If your nostrils are exposed in any way, you still are at complete risk of exposure. So keep them up!
“We often breathe partially or completely through our nose, and you can [become infected] by breathing viral particles. Likewise, if you’re infected and your mask is down just covering your mouth, if you sneeze … then you can generate respiratory droplets in that fashion.”Thomas Russo
“If the nostrils are peeking out above the mask and the external edge of the mask is rubbing against the nostrils, cross-contamination could occur from the mask to the nose.” said Lucy Wilson, the chair of the department of emergency health services at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.Lucy Wilson
Chair of the Department of Emergency Health Services in Maryland
2. Letting Your Mask Come In Contact With Your Body Or Belongings
This seems like it would be common sense…but think about it. If your mask, the item that has been protecting you from breathing in the scary virus, comes in contact with you in ANY other way…it kind of defeats the purpose.
COVID-19 can get on your clothes, hands, face, body, really any part of you.
So, if you take off your mask and put it in your purse, then anything inside your purse could have it. Or if you touch the mask with your hand when you remove it, you suddenly have contaminated your hand.
“Concern for improperly wearing a mask is based on the risk of contamination. If the inside of the mask touches another part of the body that is contaminated with the virus ― hair, forehead, chin, neck, hands, other clothing ― then the inside of the mask is returned to the nose and mouth area [where there are] vulnerable mucous membranes, infection can occur.”Lucy Wilson
A lot of people also scrunch down their masks to their neck to get some fresh air or eat. But then you’ve let your neck be fully exposed to everything your mask was saving you from!
3. Letting Your Mask Hang Too Loosely
We get it. Face masks are SUUUUPER uncomfortable. Especially if you have to wear them all day. But if you are wearing them loosely to give yourself a little comfort, you’re defeating the entire purpose of wearing it.
N95 respirators that are worn by doctors are closely fitted to the face. But if you are using a surgical mask or a homemade cloth mask, you may be letting the sides gap loosely. And that’s a big no-no.
The entire point of wearing a face mask is to completely block air from entering anywhere but the filtering of the mask. So if there’s gaps anywhere, it’s pointless.
4. Your Mask Is Lower Than The Bridge Of Your Nose
A lot of people are pulling their masks up just over the tip of the nose, when in reality, it’s supposed to reach the bridge of your nose for full protection.
This is the best way to seal in your mask and keep it from gapping. the lower you have it on your nose, the more room for it to shift and move and let air in.
“If you [are covering] just the tip of your nose, that’s going to leave big air gaps on the top of your mask for air to be able to come in and out. That’s why we recommend that the mask sits on the bridge of your nose and not the tip.”Erin Sorrell
5. Not Properly Cleaning Reusable Masks
This is a BIG no-no. Obviously, the idea of reusable masks are great. They are more eco-friendly, more readily available, and more accessible. But if you aren’t cleaning them properly, then you’re defeating the purpose of making your life easier.
Be sure you are washing them in your washer every single use.
Do not reuse your mask without washing it first. Disposable N95 masks can be boiled in a pot of water if you need to reuse them as well.
But if your mask is visibly soiled or damaged, dispose of it. Do not try using it again. It’s not worth the risk.
We hope that these tips help you in ensuring that you are staying up to date with the best ways to stay safe out there. And if you are looking for some unique stylish masks, be sure to check out our post about Disney Face Masks For You And Your Kids!