With South Australia, NSW and Victoria now in lockdown to stop the spread of the Delta strain of Covid-19, wearing a mask is now more important than ever.
While putting a piece of cloth or plastic over your face seems simple enough, there can be mistakes you can make when wearing your mask.
But what are they?
Not washing your hands before putting the mask on
You should always wash your hands or use hand sanitiser before putting on your mask according to NSW Health Senior Medical Advisor Dr Jan Fizzell.
“That means giving your hands a really good clean so that you're less likely to take any germs from your hands to your face while you're putting on the mask,” she said.
Dr Fizzell added hands should be cleaned again after the mask has been put on.
“It's really important though that we use our mask correctly so that we reduce the risk that we're going to be contaminated or spread contamination around us.”
Your mask should cover your nose
While there’s an old saying about it being important to stop and smell the rose every now and then, it’s crucial you keep the mask over your nose.
Dr David M Aronoff, director of Vanderbilt University Medical Centre’s Division of Infectious Diseases, told NBC News the mouth along with the nose are areas where coronavirus can shed from.
Infectious disease expert Dr Brooke Goldner added the mask’s positioning might differ depending on the shape of a person’s nose.
“So the position should be the spot where there is the best seal around your nose and mouth,” she told NBC.
“For most people, that is the very top of your nose below your eyes.”
Do not touch your mask
It might seem tempting but do not touch your mask while wearing it.
Jessica Stokes-Parish, a nurse and researcher from the NSW Hunter region, told Yahoo Lifestyle this is because you can transfer droplets from your face to your hands in doing so.
“Let's say, for example, there are some viral droplets on the edge of your mask - each time you touch the mask or leave it hanging, you are transferring those germs to your fingers,” she told Yahoo Lifestyle.
“Then you touch your mouth or eyes and you are infecting yourself. Or perhaps you might share them with a person close to you.”
Using an ineffective mask
It really is crucial that in any situation where you are required to wear a mask that you use a proper one.
Personal health and safety expert Dr Mary Clifton told KUSI News it’s “the number one mistake” she sees.
Dr Clifton claims she has seen people wearing bandanas and scarves instead of proper masks.
“It doesn’t protect you or the people around you from viral transmission,” she said.
“But the other thing I see is people wearing a mask that is uncomfortable for them. It doesn’t fit properly.”
She added one of the main issues with a mask that’s the wrong size is people adjust it constantly and, as mentioned earlier in this article, you should not be touching your mask while wearing it.
Taking your mask off to talk
The University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics listed people taking off their face masks or pulling them down to speak as one of the “five common mistakes” people make, adding “they’re defeating the purpose” of wearing one.
As we know, the virus is spread via droplets from the mouth.
The university recommended anyone who absolutely has to pull down the face mask to speak to consider buying a face shield to also wear.
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