Please wear mask properly
Dr ASHA SHAH. M.D. Professor of Medicine.GCS Medical college,Ahmedabad
AS we know the most important means to prevent Covid 19 transmission is by wearing a mask. By properly wearing a mask, you can protect yourself from getting the infection if any person comes near you who is Covid positive. Another important advantage for your loved ones and for your community is that if you are presymptomatic or asymptomatic career, you can prevent transmission to them.
How to put on a face mask
- Clean your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer before touching the mask.
- Remove a mask from the box and make sure there are no obvious tears or holes in either side of the mask.
- Determine which side of the mask is the top. The side of the mask that has a stiff bendable edge is the top and is meant to mold to the shape of your nose.
- Determine which side of the mask is the front. The colored side of the mask is usually the front and should face away from you, while the white side touches your face.
- Follow the instructions below for the type of mask you are using.
- Face Mask with Ear loops: Hold the mask by the ear loops. Place a loop around each ear.
- Face Mask with Ties: Bring the mask to your nose level and place the ties over the crown of your head and secure with a bow.
- Face Mask with Bands: Hold the mask in your hand with the nose piece or top of the mask at fingertips, allowing the headbands to hang freely below hands. Bring the mask to your nose level and pull the top strap over your head so that it rests over the crown of your head. Pull the bottom strap over your head so that it rests at the nape of your neck.
- Mold or pinch the stiff edge to the shape of your nose.
- If using a face mask with ties: Then take the bottom ties, one in each hand, and secure with a bow at the nape of your neck.
- Pull the bottom of the mask over your mouth and chin.
How to remove a face mask
- Clean your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer before touching the mask. Avoid touching the front of the mask. The front of the mask is contaminated. Only touch the ear loops/ties/band. Follow the instructions below for the type of mask you are using.
- Face Mask with Ear loops: Hold both of the ear loops and gently lift and remove the mask.
- Face Mask with Ties: Untie the bottom bow first then untie the top bow and pull the mask away from you as the ties are loosened.
- Face Mask with Bands: Lift the bottom strap over your head first then pull the top strap over your head.
- Throw the mask in the trash. Clean your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer.
So there is a proper way of putting on the mask and also removing the mask. These guidelines are for the triple layer surgical mask which is available in medical stores and which generally is blue.
Common mistakes people do while using the mask
1) They would wear mask but the upper end of mask is on mouth and not covering the nose at all. This is like practically not wearing a mask. We are not supposed to cover the mouth. We have to cover the nose please. The air that you breathe in and out is through nose. If the mask is on mouth it will be difficult to talk or people may not understand what you are talking and finally you are tempted to slide it further lower. This is a very important and most common mistake and of course it would be a costly mistake. We see people doing this all the time. Be it a vegetable vendor, grocery shop worker, people walking in crowded market, even educated people like young working executives, politicians, sports persons ,media persons etc(we see on TV ) and sometimes even doctors. This is unintended and without proper knowledge. it totally fails the purpose. So the wearing a mask is made compulsory by government and they are also doing checkups at some points but they should also emphasize the correct way of wearing it and they can also fine persons for not properly wearing the mask. They should educate the public on proper way of wearing it. You don’t wear it to avoid paying fine but to protect yourself and others. So please see that whenever you wear a mask, it should be properly covering the nose.
2) Some people wear it in such a way that it covers jaw and it is just “present sir” kind of feeling. It serves absolutely no purpose and if at all there are germs on the outer surface, you will be inhaling them yourself.
3) Sometimes the mask is on the neck. You could throw away it rather than wearing it because taking it up and down harms you and offers no protection.
4) People remove it in workplace while eating or drinking beverage and sitting close by. This is also one of the most important modes of transmission. So if you can, keep social distance and eat but if not possible, eat alone. Talking loudly and forcefully, laughing or coughing without a mask increases viral shedding.
5) last but not the least, we see so many people not wearing it at all. What do you say to them? God help them and help others. If you don’t want to wear it, stay home but if you want to go out and come in contact with people,you have to wear mask properly.
You can wear homemade mask, cloth mask, hand kerchief or dupatta or cover it with cloth but it should be tightly sitting on your neck and covering it.
Is it easy to wear the mask?
It is difficult to wear it, some people have difficulty in breathing and it is truly cumbersome but what is the option? No option. We are stuck with this situation and we have to tolerate it, cooperate and guide people. If you are alone in a room take it out but if you go out in the public or whenever you are with anyone, you must wear it. The only exception is at home where you can relax particularly if all members are careful.
My sincere request to all friends is to wear mask properly, discard it carefully as it is a biomedical waste, don’t wear it repeatedly if it is a disposable mask and help others to understand the same.This is the most important means to prevent Covid 19 occurring to you and others.The cases are increasing.It is your civic duty to be a part of preventive strategies.You help yourself,you help others,your community,your city and your country.
Be the person in the first figure.Believe in science.