Currently the state of Indiana is under a mask mandate for everyone over the age of two while in public places. As we continue to work through this school year and as many districts return back to class in person, masks are essential in keeping our children and family as safe as possible. But why are masks important and how exactly should we be wearing them? Here are a few things you need to keep in mind when masking up ourselves and family.
What kind of mask should we be using?
There are a few options for your family – surgical masks, cloth masks and a face shield. Let us break them down for you.
These masks disposable and will still cut down your risk of transmitting infection. They are a bit better at filtering the air your breath in however they don’t fit snugly to your face which can be bothersome if you are a child. Surgical masks are convenient and ideal to keep stocked in your car in case you are out and about and forget a mask as you venture out.
Cloth masks are the most popular option, especially as we continue the school year. They are reusable, pretty comfortable and breathable. Many cloth masks do provide a space for a filter, which is another great way to protect your family by blocking out airborne droplets. Studies have shown that a two layer mask that was made from t-shirt fabric can 98% of airborne droplets. So if you have a crafty (or have a crafty friend) this would make a great project to sew extra cloth masks for the family!
Here’s a tip: Get a delicates laundry bag to throw your masks in after each use. Then throw the bag into the washing machine and wash the cloth masks in hot water on the delicate cycle. Air dry or machine dry the masks and you’ll be ready to go!
A face shield usually fits from the top of your head and covers your face with a plastic shield. They are reusable and can be cleaned simply with soap and water. A benefit of the face shield is that they can allow you to communicate more easily when you have to pull down your mask. However, it is recommended that a face shield be worn along with a face mask since it doesn’t completely cover your mouth or prevent infection from airborne droplets.
How Should a Mask be Worn?
There are a few things to remember when wearing masks. First of all, make sure your mask is clean (that is has been recently washed or is a brand new, unused surgical mask) to help prevent the spread of germs. Next, don’t touch the front of the mask with your hands. Sometimes the mask will slip or you will pull it down for a quick breath or chat. When you touch your mask, you are essentially putting germs right in the area of where you breath. And who knows what you touched but you’ll be breathing in those germs which furthers your chances of contracting the virus. So rule of thumb is not only to wash your hands but keep them away from your face and mask. Finally, pull that mask up OVER your nose. When you wear your mask under your nose, you might as well not be wearing a mask at all. You can still breath in droplets as well as transmit germs if you were to sneeze or breath. Covering your mouth AND nose with the mask is the most effective way to prevent the spread of COVID.
While we understand that masks are uncomfortable, we also know that this mandate is necessary to help stop the spread of the disease as we go about our daily activities and routines. COVID is a serious and life threatening disease and if wearing a mask is one thing we can do to help stop the spread, it is imperative that we comply with the mandate together.
Looking to stock up on masks? Be sure to check out our list of local businesses you can support and purchase masks for your family!
Hancock Health is committed to making health possible for everyone they serve—in 2020 and beyond. They have the facilities, the programs, the resources, and—most important—the people, to help you get healthy, stay healthy, and live a healthier life.