As many of us go back to work, wearing a mask has become an essential part of day-to-day life where social distancing is no longer possible. This has led to masks being made available for online purchases. Each type of mask provides a different level of protection.
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Homemade or Official?
A homemade mask will offer some protection and will reduce the chance of unknowingly spreading Covid-19 on to others. In contrast, N95 respirators and surgical-grade masks are examples of personal protective equipment that provide a high level of protection against the virus. These types of masks are widely available online, for instance, you can get a bulk pack of facemasks here if you’d rather stay away from busy shops.
The style of mask you chose should be comfortable, allow for easy breathing, and should not need adjusting once put on. When you fit the mask on your head firmly with ties or ear loops, it should cover your nose and mouth completely without any gaps or holes. If having your mask around your ears is uncomfortable, there are ear guards available to buy online, or tutorials online as to how to make ear guards easily. Which provides relief and makes wearing a mask slightly more comfortable.
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Your mask of choosing should be made of at least two layers of tightly-woven fabric or should be FDA approved. This indicates that the mask has been tested for its ability to resist splashes of blood or bodily fluid.
An excellent method to test if your mask is effective enough is by trying to blow out a candle while wearing it. Bill Nye, the Science Guy, is one of the many people who have used this technique to display the effectiveness of masks.
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To ensure safety while taking your mask on and off, wash your hands before putting on. Cover the mouth and nose with your mask, ensuring there are no gaps or holes between your face and the mask.
Prevent touching the mask while using it and, if you do, wash your hands, this will reduce the risk of bacteria from the mask, making contact with the skin.
To take off your mask, use the elastic ties or ear loops, avoiding contact with the front of your mask and discard of immediately into a closed bin. If your mask is reusable, place directly into the washing machine after each use, and wash hands once your mask is safely discarded.
Looking after your mask
Face masks should be kept folded, so the contaminated side is folded inwards and placed in a clean bag. They should not be put in pockets for later use but should be discarded of correctly after each use, either by washing or placing it into a bin.
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If you have a reusable or cloth face mask that requires washing, it is recommended to use ‘hot’ water temperature and regular laundry detergent for washing face coverings.