In these times of coronavirus epidemics, wearing a protective mask is one of the most important hygiene recommendations to protect yourself and others from contamination by COVID19. This article shares best practices on the use of medical masks.
What masks can we use?
There are several categories of masks that you can use, they generally differ in the level of filtration efficiency:
Surgical masks are the most common, they protect the wearer from droplets and splashes. In Europe, type I, II and IIR masks are available. Protection lasts about 4 hours to be effective, 8 hours maximum. It must be thrown in the trash after use.
N95 masks can filter 95% of particles present in the air, thus protecting the wearer from vapors or aerosols. Some respirators are reusable (possibility to change the filter inside). According to the European standard, we find respirators FFP1, FFP2 and FFP3, the latter being the most filtering. They are also effective for a maximum of 4 to 8 hours.
Currently, an increasing number of people are creating their own cloth masks, which can be a good solution if the pharmacies around you are out of stock. These masks can also be made of paper. However, be aware that hand-sewn masks are generally much less effective. Now you can buy medical face masks online and make the best use of it.
When should we put on my mask?
The use of masks is increasingly preferred, even mandatory, especially in transport and public places, because asymptomatic transmission occurs more often than you think. It becomes necessary to wear a mask:
- If you have symptoms such as coughing, sneezing or any difficulty breathing
- If you come into contact with or care for someone who has contracted coronavirus, live with them
- If you are a medical worker because it is imperative to wear a mask when you are in contact with patients
- If you have to go to a place where social distancing is not always possible (shop, work, school, etc.)
How to properly position a protective mask?
There are specific instructions to follow to properly wear your medical mask and thus avoid contact with the virus. We recommend that you first wash your hands thoroughly before handling it.
First, determine which side you should put it on your face. Make sure the foldable edge is up and the flat side of the mask is facing your face. Most of the time, the colored side should be facing outward.Put the foldable edge over your nose and place the elastic bands behind your ears. If your mask has only one large clip, hold the mask against your face with the clip behind your head.
Mold the foldable edge on the bridge of your nose. Pinch it with your fingertips so that air cannot enter it.Pull the bottom of your mask over your mouth. Make sure it covers everything, as well as your chin.Once the mask is in place, do not touch it or remove or replace it. If you do, wash your hands immediately afterwards with soap and water or use an alcohol-based gel.