While you can keep your own home clean and sanitized, going out to stores or public spaces increases the risk of contagion.
Commonly affected surfaces such as shop counters and gas pumps may be contaminated if they were touched before you by an ill person. And while you should remember to keep your distance from others, you may unwittingly find yourself in the vicinity of ill individuals as you wait in line to buy basic necessities.
Before going outdoors, wearing a face mask and protective gloves is helpful in protecting yourself and others from infection during an outbreak.
This article provides information on how the face masks and disposable gloves can be used correctly.
Face masks can help to limit germ spread when an ill person is talking, coughing , or sneezing. By wearing these masks, ill persons can help prevent disease from spreading to others.
Wear a face mask if you are ill with a communicable disease or suspect you are.
It is also important to know that you could be contagious without even realizing it. For example, a person may have germs in his body yet have no symptoms of illness. But someone else in contact with him can still get infected.
Hence you should always wear a face mask when around the elderly or persons with health problems to reduce the spread of germs.
Also wear a face mask if you are likely to come in contact with infected persons.
A mask can serve a specific purpose — it can help avoid touch of the mouth or nose.
For example, if you touch a surface that was contaminated by an ill person who touched it before you, germs will get onto your hands. If you then touch your nose or mouth with your hand, these germs will enter your body and infect you. This is one of the main ways germs can spread.
So a mask will help avoid infection because, by wearing one, you are less likely to touch your own mouth and nose.
How to Put on a Face Mask
1. Before putting on a face mask, wash your hands with soap and water. If these are not available, use hand sanitizer.
2. Inspect the mask to make sure it has no obvious tears or holes that would render it ineffective.
3. Determine which side of the mask is the front. The coloured side of the mask is the side that faces away from you.
4. Determine which side of the mask is the top. If the mask has a stiff, bendable edge, this is meant to mold to the shape of your nose and is the top.
5. If your mask has elastic bands that fit over your head, hold the mask on your face while stretching the bands over your head to secure it in place.
6. If your mask has ear loops, hold the mask by the loops and place a loop around each ear.
7. Pull the mask bottom over your chin and mouth.
8. Change your face mask, minimally, once a day or as soon as it gets moist or soiled. If you have any doubt about a mask, wash your hands and get a new one.
How to Remove a Face Mask
By removing a face mask correctly, you reduce the risk of spreading bacteria or a virus to your bare skin or the surfaces around you. To remove a face mask, do the following:
1. Before removing a face mask, wash your hands with soap and water. If these are not available, use hand sanitizer.
2. Avoid touching the part of the mask that covers the face. Touch only the bands or loops used to secure it.
3. If your mask has elastic bands that fit over your head, lift the bottom band over your head first, then pull the top band over your head.
4. If your mask has ear loops, hold them both and gently lift to remove the mask.
5. Dispose of the face mask after each use. Never reuse it.
6. Wash your hands thoroughly.