All You Need to Know About Face Masks
From Monday 10th of August, the wearing of face coverings will be mandatory in shops and shopping centres across Ireland, in addition to while travelling on public transport. The government are also recommending the wearing of masks in situations where social distancing is difficult, in order to prevent a rise in community transmission.
Although it was initially thought that masks were not effective in combating COVID-19, epidemiologists and health authorities - including the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control - have found that the correct use of face coverings by people who are asymptomatic can help reduce the spread of the virus. A person who is asymptomatic may carry the virus but not show any symptoms, therefore it is crucial for a mask to be worn to prevent the spread of respiratory droplets and infecting others in the community.
How Do Masks Work?
As demonstrated from the above graphic, masks and face coverings work by providing a barrier that prevents respiratory droplets from spreading when a person coughs, sneezes or talks. Face masks and coverings may help stop people who are not aware they have the virus from spreading it to others.
What Kind Of Mask Can I Use?
There are two options for face coverings: disposable, single use masks or reusable masks made from cloth such as cotton, silk or linen.
When choosing a mask, it is important to remember the following:
- The mask must be able to cover both the nose and mouth (to go under the chin)
- The mask must include at least two layers of fabric to ensure an effective barrier
- The fit must be snug yet comfortable against the side of the face
- The face covering or mask should be secured with ties or ear loops
- Choose a mask that allows for breathing without restriction
How To Put On and Remove Masks Correctly
- Wash your hands thoroughly before picking up the mask (use hand sanitiser if necessary)
- Put on the mask by holding it by its strings or ear loops, ensuring it fits comfortably and snugly
- If your mask includes a rigid bar across the bridge of the nose, pinch this to fit the face
- Whilst wearing the mask do not touch the mask or your face with your hands to avoid contamination - if an adjustment to the mask is required, it is important to wash or sanitise your hands first
- Before removing, clean or sanitise your hands thoroughly
- To take off the mask, use the ties or ear loops to remove the face covering - do not touch the front of the covering whilst removing
- Single use masks should be disposed of straight away after removal; reusable masks should be stored in a sealable clean waterproof bag until it can be washed
- Reusable masks should be washed after each use, at the highest temperature (recommended 60°C or hotter) to prevent contamination
Important Do's and Don'ts When Using Face Masks:
- Maintain high levels of hand hygiene at all times - wearing a mask should complement this, not be a substitution
- Always change your face covering if it is dirty, wet or damaged
- Carry unused masks in a sealable waterproof bag, and carry a spare bag to put used masks in
- Cover your mouth and nose fully with the mask and ensure there are no gaps between your cloth face covering
- Make sure it is made from a fabric you are comfortable wearing
- Do not reuse a disposable mask
- Do not share masks with others
- Do not lower a mask to speak, eat, smoke or vape - if you need to uncover your nose or mouth take the mask off, and put it in the bag for used masks
- Do not use a damp or wet face covering
- Do not discard masks in public places
- Do not touch a mask while it is being worn
Above all, it is important to keep in mind the main public health guidelines relating to COVID-19; to maintain social distancing, practise good hand hygiene and coughing/sneezing etiquette.
Safety Direct stocks a wide range of PPE and our team are on hand to provide insight and assistance with any queries you may have. Contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 091 745150.
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