Covering your face in public has become a part of daily life, but we still see people using them wrong. From covid-19 to the flu to the common cold, a mask catches any droplets that carry these before have a chance of infecting another person, but only if worn properly. This is a simple reminder to protect yourself and others to the best of your ability.
Put It On Correctly
You should be washing or sanitizing your hands before putting on any mask. This ensures you don’t transfer germs to the mask for you to breathe in right away. After washing, you can touch the front of the mask to get the best fit. After you place it, try not to mess with it too much.
Put It Over Your Nose
This unfortunately is a common scene. Yes, it is easier to breathe, feels less claustrophobic, and makes communication a touch clearer, but it makes wearing a mask at all rather pointless. You are breathing out or in droplets with your nose exposed. Stop that!
Don’t Fiddle With It
We see a lot of people touching their masks a lot in public. Resist the urge to adjust it until you are out of public spaces and had a chance to sanitize your hands. Every time you touch your mask you run the risk of transferring germs to it. You touch surfaces in public. You then touch your mask. That puts germs closer than you want them to be.
Leave It On To Talk
Another mistake so many people are making is pulling their masks down to talk to others. That once again makes the mask useless. Talk louder and enunciate each word, and people will understand you. Shout if you must, but do not pull down your mask to communicate. That puts yourself and others at risk for no reason.
Take It Off Properly
Sanitize your hands before removing your mask. Take it off by the loops, with as little contact with possibly contaminated material as possible. Try not to touch the front of the mask. Throw it away, wash, or sanitize it fully. And wash your hands again after.
Eat With Care
Many restaurants are allowing people to dine in again, but many also require masks. This is a fun dilemma, but it is manageable with care. Keep the mask on while you order. Take it off properly as directed above before eating. Maintain social distance as you eat. If it is a disposable mask, replace it after your meal using the proper method above. If it is a reusable mask, fold it by the ear loops after removal keeping the clean interior from being exposed during your meal. Put it back on as you would a new mask, but wash your hands again after.
Sanitize Between Uses
If you are using reusable masks, make sure you are sanitizing it between uses. Wash it. You can also get some sanitizing effects from direct sunlight. Place it on your dash between errands. This isn’t perfect as many windshields filter out some UV light, but it is still more protection than balling it up in a purse or pocket and then putting it back on.
Don’t Wear Them Unnecessarily
Wearing a mask around uninfected people in your own household isn’t going to do much. If you suspect a family member is infected, go ahead and wear a mask. Wearing it in your car by yourself isn’t doing much either. Masks catch droplets more than anything. If you aren’t around people, there are no droplets to worry about.
Manage Your Eyeglasses
If you wear glasses, you know how obnoxious wearing a mask can be as things fog up with every exhale. Making sure you properly fit your mask can help. Pinch the metal nose piece around your nose and set your glasses slightly over the fabric. You can also wash your glasses with a little shaving cream to prevent fogging.
Don’t Complain So Much
Yes, masks are uncomfortable. Yes, they are hot. Yes, they make it feel like breathing is more difficult. And yes, they are also saving lives. Refusing to wear them puts yourself and others at risk. We’ve seen people cite respiratory illness as a reason not to wear one. This is false. Anyone with a respiratory illness is more likely to be told by their doctor to wear a mask to protect an at-risk patient. Many people with respiratory problems wear masks all day. Doctors are wearing masks all day. Nurses are wearing masks all day. You can do it too!
There are also plenty of other conspiracy theories out there about how wearing a mask makes us more complacent or prepares us to give away more rights. Think about things before believing them. Are doctors more complacent? Do they give away rights more readily than the rest of us? No, that’s silly. Suck it up, wear a mask, and keep us all safer.
We didn't really talk much about matcha, but you can learn how matcha can bolster lung health here.