All of us in the UAE are wearing a face mask outdoors (reminder – if you don’t there is a AED 3,000 fine), but are you sure you're wearing it correctly?
Face masks need to cover the nose and mouth and have ear loops or ties at the back of the head and are an additional step to help slow the spread of COVID-19 when combined with everyday preventive actions such as social distancing.
While the task of putting it on might not seem that complicated, but if you are doing it wrong, you might accidentally expose yourself to the possibility of catching COVID-19. Moreover, the point of the mask is to prevent others from you in case you have the illness and are asymptomatic (someone who has the virus but is not showing any symptoms). When someone coughs, sneezes or even talks, they may release tiny drops into the air that could potentially infect other people. Therefore, it makes it even more important to have these on in public settings as they help in limiting the spread of germs.
How to put on a face mask
Do you follow the below steps while putting on your face mask? If not, ensure that you to keep these in mind and put these habits in practice daily:
- Before touching the mask, thoroughly clean your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer.
- Check the face mask to make sure there are no holes and to see which side of the mask is the front side. In most instances, the coloured side of the mask is usually the front. Also, the side of the mask that has a stiff bendable edge is the top.
- When using a face mask with ear loops, place a loop around each ear. For ones with ties, bring the mask to nose level and place the ties over the crown of the head and secure with a bow.
- Once on, pinch the stiff edge to the shape of your nose to secure the face mask. A lot of the times people have the masks under their nose. That doesn’t ensure protection at all! The mask needs to cover the mouth, as well as the nose.
- Stretch the bottom half of the mask over your mouth and chin. Ensure that there are no big gaps on the sides of the mask. It should be well-fitted but make sure that you can breathe easily.
- You are now ready to step outside.
Check out the video by the World Health Organization (WHO) below on how to wear a fabric mask safely.
It can’t be stressed enough that while putting on a face mask is essential, there are other factors to keep in mind too, in order to ensure complete protection. For instance, the mask will do its job and stop the virus from getting into your mouth or nose. But the virus could land on the outside of your mask. Therefore, avoid fidgeting and touching the outside of the mask, as the virus could then latch on to your hand and be passed onto things that you touch.
Doctors also strongly advise to not touch your face and when removing the mask to take it off using the side straps.
Furthermore, disposable face masks should always be used once and then thrown in the trash and be removed or replaced when they become moist. In the case of fabric face masks, wash them in the washing machine with hot water and completely dry on medium or high heat. Read our guide on how to keep face masks clean here.