• As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to plunder immune systems, masks have become an absolute necessity for protection.
  • However, when it comes to wearing a mask, there are several common mistakes that many people make, which can undermine the whole point of wearing a mask. 
  • Pathologist Susan Louw, reminds us that masks may not be failsafe, but wearing them correctly is still important. 

As the nationwide lockdown is eased, people are venturing back out to work, school and the shops. However, with the Covid-19 pandemic still raging, it is more important than ever to take precautions against spreading infection. Wear a mask, maintain social distancing and wash your hands regularly with soap. This routine reminder should have a song with the 'Head Shoulders Knees & Toes' melody at this point. 

Dr Susan Louw, a pathologist at the National Health Laboratory Service and spokesperson for Dettol, notes that “there’s a very clear link between poor hygiene and communicable diseases – disease processes such as typhoid, gastro-enteritis and the common flu, let alone Covid-19. So, if we can improve hygiene and hygiene routines in a community, we will definitely be able to impact on all communicable diseases.” 

READ MORE: Would the proven safety of face shields over cloth masks allow you to enjoy wearing makeup again? 

When it comes to wearing a mask, there are several common mistakes that many people make, which can undermine the whole point of wearing a mask. Many have expressed concerns over people not covering their noses when wearing masks, which defeats the purpose. Others have seen people lowering their masks to speak. Again, compromising the purpose of wearing a mask. 

So at 100 days of lockdown, it's perhaps necessary to remind ourselves how to wear masks correctly in order to ensure for maximum protection. 

Here are five tips covering the ABCs of wearing a mask: 

That is - Avoid touching, wear it over the Bridge of your nose, and Cover your Chin.

Get the fit right

The mask should sit on the bridge of your nose (not balanced on the tip). It should cover your nose, mouth and extend over your chin. The mask should fit snugly, without billowing out at the sides or leaving obvious gaps. Don’t leave your nose sticking out, as you will still be able to inhale (and exhale) infectious droplets. 

Wash your hands

Wash your hands before putting your mask on, and again before taking it off. Use soap and wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. This prevents your hands from contaminating your mask, and vice-versa. 

Don’t touch

Don't touch your mask while wearing it. When removing it, use the loops to take it off, rather than touching the fabric or the front of the mask. 

Don't fiddle

Don’t pull your mask down to rest on your chin or around your neck (or up onto your forehead). You’re obviously not protected while it is in this position, and it may become contaminated. 

Wash your mask

And so frequently with hot water and detergent and allow it to dry completely. Don’t wear it when wet. Also, don’t wear the same mask for long periods or repeat occasions without washing it thoroughly in between, and always store it in a clean, dry place.

READ MORE: This is how you should be washing your clothing and bedding in the thick of the coronavirus pandemic 

Stay at home

... as much as possible.

Finally, remember that while wearing a mask correctly can help to prevent the spread of coronavirus, it’s not a failsafe solution. It is still possible to become infected. To stay safe, avoid going out unnecessarily and try to keep a distance of at least two meters between yourself and others. And remember to get in the habit of washing your hands with soap regularly as well, as this is an important way to prevent the spread of disease.

Additional information provided by Ogilvy

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