How to Wear and Care for Your Mask:

By Let Mommy Sleep. August 12, 2020

Masks are effective at preventing the spread of coronavirus. Hospital grade and even cloth masks work for your everyday encounters out in public, especially paired with social distancing.  Here’s everything you need to know to mask up to stay safe from COVID19:

When should I wear a mask? Wear a mask anytime you’re in an indoor public space and outdoors if you can’t stay 6ft away from others not in your household.

When can I *not* wear my mask? 

  • When in your home, provided everyone is covid-negative
  • when outdoors as long as a 6ft. distance is maintained from persons not in your household
  • when in your car alone or with those you live with
  • when eating a drinking
  • when engaged in strenuous activity where your mask impedes breathing
  • when in labor and giving birth!
  • kids 2 and under should not wear masks

How do I actually use my mask?

  1. Before you put on a mask, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. Hand sanitizer can be used if handwashing isn’t possible. When you pick up your mask, touch the sides/portion that goes around yours ears or head…not the middle. 
  1. If you’re wearing a surgical mask,note that they have a top and bottom and the top has a wire which should be pressed to form around the bridge of your nose. The same goes for commercial masks with wire on top, be sure the wire is shaped around your nose. 
  1. Never touch the inside of your mask! Once you do, that mask has been contaminated and is no longer safe to use.  
  1. Remove the mask by touching only the sides/portion that touched your ears or the back of your head. 
  1. Wash and sanitize your hands again.
  1. Remember that your mask must cover your nose. If it’s worn below the nose it’s useless.

How do I take care of my mask?

Surgical masks:(the light blue/green ones)

  • meant for single use only. They are not made for multiple uses. If you must reuse it, use your clean hands to fold it so that the outside portion is exposed, and the inside is protected.
  • If someone coughs or sneezes around you, or you are around someone who is sick, you MUST throw away your mask. This mask is now breeding bacteria between uses. 
  • If your mask gets wet, you must throw it away, it is no longer safe to use. 

Cloth masks:

  • should be washed after EVERY use.
  • Do not put a cloth mask back on if it becomes damp or wet.
  • Do not wear it if you’ve been around a sick person prior to washing it.
  • There are many different cloth masks, but comfort and fit should be considered the most important things, since keeping the mask on and properly fitted helps keep you safe. 
  • Remember that the gaiter type of face covering may not be useful.
  • Use a filter in your cloth mask if available. Many commercial masks are sold with filters but you can also use coffee filters or paper towels. These should be thrown away after each use. 

This blog was written by the Nurses of Let Mommy Sleep and Infection Control Specialist Laura Hegarty-Moore, RN PHS. If you have any questions about masks, let us know on Instagram or Facebook.