We wear face masks to protect ourselves from viruses and bacteria. But did you know that these face masks could also be a potential vector for the very same viruses we are trying to protect ourselves from?
There is a risk of transferring pathogens from the surface of the masks during, before or after use.
- a) When picking it up
- b) When putting it on or taking off
- c) When disposing it unsafely/leaving it lying around
- d) When touching it while wearing or for adjustment
And there is always the risk of contracting the virus through touching the face after touching the contaminated surface of the mask or other surfaces contaminated by the mask.
Masks are an additional step to help slow the spread of COVID-19 when combined with every day preventive actions and social distancing in public settings.
How to wear your mask correctly:
- Wash your hands before putting on your mask
- Put it over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin
- Try to fit it snugly against the sides of your face
- Make sure you can breathe easily
- Do not use masks if they have an exhalation valve or vent
Protect others by wearing your mask:
- Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth to help protect others in case you’re infected with COVID-19 but don’t have symptoms
- Wear a mask in public settings when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when it may be difficult for you to stay six feet apart
- Wear a mask correctly for maximum protection
- Don’t put the mask around your neck or up on your forehead
- Don’t touch the mask, and, if you do, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer to disinfect
Follow these habits everyday:
- Stay at least 6 feet away from others
- Avoid contact with people who are sick
- Wash your hands often, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds each time
- Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available
What to do with your mask when you’re back home:
- Untie the strings behind your head or stretch the ear loops
- Handle only by the ear loops or ties
- Fold outside corners together
- Place mask in the washing machine (learn more about how to wash masks)
- Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth when removing and wash hands immediately after removing.