The new normality is here, and with it comes many doubts and questions about the proper use of the masks. With a few simple guidelines and good habits, you will find it easy to use them correctly.
In this article we want to show you how to use cloth masks properly, as well as some tips on washing and maintaining them. We will talk about:
- The use of masks
- What a cloth mask should look like
- How to use it properly
- Other important recommendations to stay safe
- Four key questions in the use of masks
The use of masks
The use of cloth masks can be effective in slowing the spread of a virus and reducing infection. Also, and this is very important, it can help prevent transmission between people who do not know they are infected. DIY masks made from common materials or Ubik fabric masks can be used as an additional voluntary measure to contribute to public health.
These types of masks should not be used on children under the age of two, or on people who have difficulty breathing, are disabled in a way that affects the use of masks, or are unable to remove the mask by themselves.
It is important to remember that fabric masks are not the same as surgical masks or professional masks like the N-95. These types of masks are essential for health care workers, non-infected patients, and some high-risk situations.
What a fabric mask should look like
A cloth mask should:
- Fit comfortably but firmly to the different areas of your face.
- Have an effective support system, such as laces or ties over the ears.
- Include several layers of fabric
- Allow for comfortable breathing
- Be washable and allow drying without risk of altering its original shape or being damaged in doing so.
How to use your mask properly
Masks can act as a barrier so that fluids and droplets do not get through. Surgical masks are a very common type of mask and their use is sometimes necessary.
If you have a respiratory infection, or if your location is at the outbreak of an epidemic, you should wear this type of mask. Whatever the context, keep the following precautions in mind. Whatever the context, keep the following precautions in mind:
- If it is intended for children or teenagers, make sure it is an appropriate size.
- Always wash or disinfect both hands before putting on the mask.
- Adjust the position so that it covers your face properly. Remember to store the mask in a safe and dry place.
- If your mask has laces, the tops should be tied over the top of your head, near the crown. Tie the lower cords in second place.
- If your mask fits with circles that fit over your ears, adjust them carefully before putting on your gloves.
- If your mask has an over-the-ear fit, remove both ends at the same time and carefully remove the mask.
Once you have put on your mask, avoid touching it. Also avoid touching the used mask if you have not washed it. Handle it only to put it in the washing machine. Always wash your hands before and after touching your mask. If it has laces, undo the lower knot first, then the upper one.
It is very important that you avoid touching the outside of the mask when you take it off, as this surface has a higher chance of having some kind of germ on its surface.
After you take off your mask, wash it. If there is any damage, dispose of it in a closed garbage bag and wash your hands.
Replace your mask every few months. Change your mask immediately if it is dirty or broken.
General recommendations in addition to wearing a mask
Wearing masks is a great way to help set an example of caution, increase the sense of safety and teach children to take care of themselves. In addition to wearing them, we recommend you:
- Frequent and proper hand washing.
- Extreme hygiene before touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Coughing and sneezing into the elbow, as far as possible from other people.
- Try to avoid contact with people who may be infected unless absolutely necessary.
- Do not leave your home if you notice symptoms of illness.
- Keep, as far as possible, away from places that may be sources of infection:
- At peak times, avoid crowds and social contact that is not necessary. In the case of necessary visits to places at risk, reduce the duration of the visit to the shortest possible time.
Important: We recommend that you use sanitary masks at all times if you are a person with a risk situation, whether due to previous pathologies, pregnancy or chronic diseases.
The four key questions in the use of masks
Above all, as a summary, we leave you with these three key answers for a new safe and respectful normality with others.
Should I wash or clean my masks regularly? How often should I wash them?
Yes! Wash them often. Some institutions strongly recommend daily washing. But this will also depend on the frequency of use and the situation. It is not the same to use them for individual walks as it is to use public transport.
How can I safely sterilize or clean a cloth mask?
The use of a common washing machine is sufficient to achieve an effective disinfection of the germs that may have accumulated in the fabric.
How do I safely remove my mask after use?
Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth when you take off your mask, and remember to wash your hands immediately after use. Carry a disinfectant solution if you do not have access to soap and water.
Should/can children use them?
It is important to follow the guidelines of the health authorities at all times. Cloth masks are safe for children from the age of three and up, and many infectious disease prevention centers recommend their use in places where it is not possible to keep a safe distance. Along with the mask, it is very important to instruct young children on how to put on and take off the mask properly.