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Wearing face masks correctly requires some basic information about the functionality of their design. In this article, we’ll go over the appropriate way to wear a medical-grade face mask and explain the extreme importance of wearing these masks correctly. If you don’t already know, the way that you wear your mask really does make a big difference in terms of protection. Here is a breakdown explaining it all.
Learn the Layers
Professional masks wilhehl be divided into three layers with different purposes. In a typical medical-grade mask, the outer layer is designed to repel fluid. By repelling fluid, this layer makes it possible to diminish the likelihood that germs and bacteria will make contact with the mask. The outer layer is usually blue or green in color and lacks the same softness that most of the inner layers of professional masks have.
The middle layer of the mask acts like a spider web, as it effectively catches and entraps viruses and contaminants. Should any particles that bypass the outer layer get inside, this is the layer they will be filtered from.
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The third layer is the most absorbent, in that it captures the majority of the moisture that the mask is exposed to from talking, coughing, being around others, and the natural elements. In doing so, the mask prevents the odds of bacteria and mucus from exiting the mask as the user is talking or coughing.
As you can see, each layer finds a way to provide you and those around you with protection against harmful particles, reducing the spread of disease.
Correct Surgical Mask-Wearing
Now that you understand the basic function and design of professional masks, let’s discuss how to wear a disposable surgical mask the right way.
As we mentioned, the outer layer is usually blue or green. The outer layer faces outside and does not touch the face directly. If your mask is colored the same on each side, you might want to mark with a sharpie which side you’re deeming the outer layer, so you don’t forget. Another way to differentiate a mask with the same colors on both sides is looking out for the side that appears softer. Whatever mask color situation you’ve got going on, the softer side is the side that sits toward the face. A lot of them are white in color but go for texture if you’re ever confused.
Next, loop the elastic bands around your ears and position the mask over the nose and chin. Go for a snug and secure fit for maximum protection. A major flaw in cloth masks is the lack of proper fitting that exposes greater risk to users and those around them. Make sure that your mask fits firmly around your face and that fabric is not loose on either side of your cheeks. You want to avoid harmful particles from finding ways to bypass the mask. Once you’ve got your mask tight and secure around your face, try your very hardest to avoid touching the mask or adjusting it in any way. If you accidentally do this, just remember to wash your hands after to avoid contamination.
After wearing your mask (ideally, for no longer than thirty minutes at a time, but no longer than three days when stored correctly and undamaged), discard the used mask by folding it so that the mouth and nose sections are covered. After folding the mask correctly, perform one more fold so that the mask forms a roll-like shape. Once the mask is in this coiled position, place the mask in tissue paper or a yellow medical waste bag before throwing it away completely. When you’re all done, wash your hands and dry them completely before putting on a new mask again.
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What’s the Big Deal?
It may sound excessive to follow a specific method to applying, wearing, and throwing out your masks, but every little bit to protect yourself and others does make all the difference. The cold, hard, truth is that these masks and medical-grade masks, in general, have their own risks and there is no way to completely eliminate the spread of disease. By taking these additional steps to minimize any spreading, you’re doing everything you can to protect yourself and everyone else from harm’s way. Not everyone agrees that wearing masks is an essential part of prevention, but science suggests otherwise. It can’t hurt to follow guidelines for the betterment of everyone, so even if you have your suspicions, it’s better to be safe than sorry. In other words, wear your mask!
What if I Wear a Mask Incorrectly?
Well, if you fail to follow protocols, you’re introducing yourself and others around you, to more risk. Many tests have revealed that when users wear these masks with the soft side out (the wrong way), virus-sized particles are less often captured and filtered out. As a result, you receive far less protection than you would if you were to wear the mask correctly, and you also make things harder for yourself in terms of breathability. N95 masks are the only kind of masks capable of capturing the smallest particles that float in the air. Since these are typically reserved, you want to make sure you wear your mask correctly so that you are protected from harmful particles as much as possible. The ability of your mask to do this is already compromised, so don’t make matters worse by wearing your mask incorrectly.
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Medical-grade masks are reserved for health professionals and the sick patients they treat. If you don’t belong to one of these two categories, it’s still a good idea to learn how to properly wear a professional face mask, because everyone is vulnerable to infection. It’s important to remember that you can always do more to improve your safety and the safety of others. In today’s trying times, following health guidelines is the most important thing you can do to keep yourself and those you love protected.
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