How to Correctly use a Face Mask

In order to be protected you need to know how to correctly and safely use a face mask.

Do face masks really work?

This is a question everyone has been asking.  Is it really worth wearing a mask and what are the benefits and drawbacks of doing so?  There are many arguments for and against the use of the masks, however the debate is not if a mask can help – everyone agrees they do help – the debate is about how you intend to use of the mask and how you apply it and remove it.  It is this that determines if a mask will help you or perhaps make the threat worse.  It is critically important to know how to correctly use a face mask in order for it to protect you instead of work against you.

What type of mask is best for you?

With the threat of the Coronavirus we now see many people out and about wearing a face mask.   We see all types and sizes of face masks used.  There are disposable face masks, surgical face masks and we are even seeing more and more home-made face masks.  When choosing a face mask choose one that fits comfortably on your face.  If it is too tight it will rub on the sensitive areas of your face; this is not only uncomfortable but will result you in touching the front of the mask and causing unnecessary risk.  If the mask it too loose, it will not afford you much protection and is more likely to cause extra risk.  Ensure you can also breath easily in the mask you choose.  If you are not able to breathe well, you are likely to subconsciously remove your mask.  The rule of thumb is : choose one that feels comfortable when you put it on.

Do any of these face masks provide protection?

In theory any type of mask will assist in helping prevent infection – some better than others.  But none can guarantee that you will not get infected.  How you put the mask on and take it off is extremely important. A mask prevents contaminated droplets from coming in contact with your mouth where you are at risk of being infected.  This means that whenever you use a mask there is a possibility that the virus may land on the mask when you are wearing it.  If you then touch the masks surface at any time, the virus can potentially be transferred to your hands.

The number one rule in putting on or taking off a face mask is to use only the elastic straps.

I am going to repeat that because it is extremely important: whenever you put on or take off a face mask you should use the elastic straps only!  The second rule is : wash your hands both before you put on a mask and after you take it off.  The third rule we have already covered: never touch the front of the face mask.  If you do happen to touch the front of your mask by accident, wash your hands or use hand sanitiser immediately.

After removing a face mask.

Immediately dispose of disposable masks once removed.  Washable cloth masks should be handled very carefully to ensure the front of the mask does not come into contact with any surfaces or other objects that could potentially come into contact with your hands.

Always wash your hands where possible or use Hand sanitiser if this is not possible. Click here for options on our available face masks and click here for our sanitising options.

You can get more information from the HSE website HERE.


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