The discussion about whether we should wear a mouth mask or not is still ongoing. Some countries do not recommend it for those who are not ill themselves or who do not work in healthcare. But how do you wear such a mouth mask? What should you pay attention to, and how long will it last?
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends wearing a mouth mask if you are caring for someone suspected of being infected with the coronavirus. Even those who display symptoms such as fever, cough, snot nose, or shortness of breath, should wear a mask—the WHO warns that wearing a mouth mask is only useful in combination with frequent hand washing.
Those who wear a mouth mask must also use it correctly. Otherwise, it gives a false sense of protection—the WHO gives these tips when wearing a medical mouth mask.
1. Wash your hands and inspect the mask
First of all, wash your hands with an alcohol-based hand cleanser or just with soap and water. Also, take a close look at the mask and check that there are no holes or other damage. Check the bottom and top. With medical mouth masks, you can recognize the top because there is a piece of metal. Also, check what the inside and outside is. Usually, the white side is the inside.
2. Put it on and leave no gaps
Put the mouth mask so that it completely covers your nose and mouth, and pull the rubber bands over your ears. By pushing the metal strip at the top, you can ensure that the mask fits well with the transition from your nose to your face so that there are no openings so that virus particles can still slip in. Then pull it further down over your mouth and chin, again without any gaps.
3. Do not touch the mouth mask
Do not touch the mouth mask during use. If you do touch it, rewash your hands with an alcohol-based hand cleanser or with soap and water.
4. Replace the mask as soon as it is damp
Replace the mask with a new mask as soon as it is damp. Medical mouth masks are for single use. You cannot use them again.
5. Do not touch front when turning off
If you take off the mouth mask, you should not touch the front. So remove it by starting at the back of the rubber bands, and immediately remove it from your face. Throw it away quickly in a lockable trash can. Then rewash your hands with an alcohol-based hand cleanser or soap and water.