How to Use your Mask Correctly during the Covid19 Pandemic

Government and health authorities have mandated the use of a fabric mask to prevent the spread of
Covid19 if you are not a frontline healthcare professional – making it the single most important
element in our fight against the spread of this pandemic.

These face masks or face coverings should snugly but comfortably cover the nose and mouth and
are to be worn when one is in the midst of people or in a community environment such as a shop or
any other public space.

Doctors have confirmed that wearing a mask is not primarily about preventing oneself from picking up the virus – it is intended to protect others from getting the virus from us too! And if the entire populace
follows this recommendation consistently and carefully – the benefits will extend way beyond the
individual – and show their effects at a larger, community level.

However – getting a fabric or cloth mask ( there are lots of attractive eco-friendly, washable cotton
fabric masks available in pretty prints, fabrics and designs online ) and wearing it- is just the
beginning. The masks need to be worn properly and washed regularly. Read on more as we share
do’s and don’ts for masks in the times of Covid19.

The Mask Fit Matters

The fit of your face covering must be snug – yet comfortable. Ensure that it covers your nose and
mouth completely and goes below your chin. The sides of the mask should be close to your face and
the ties or the elastic bands that hold it in place must make you feel comfortable.
Wearing a fitted mask comes with its share of challenges – if you are wearing glasses – the lenses
will get steamed up. Getting kids – especially very young ones to wear them is a huge task. Those
with breathing problems will feel uncomfortable. And you must ideally wear a mask when you are
amongst people only – and not otherwise.
Do ensure the fit of the mask is as comfortable as possible – else you may do yourself more harm
than good.

Wear it very carefully

The one essential step before you wear a mask and after you take it off – is to follow correct hand
washing or hand hygiene protocols. Wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol based
sanitiser. Check that the mask has no holes or tears in it. Put it on by placing the mask on your face
so that it covers your nose and mouth snugly. Use the ties or elastic bands to fix it in place. Make
sure you can breathe easily. Do NOT ever touch the outside of the mask as it could be

Hands off when wearing your mask

Once you have worn the mask – do not touch it at all. Do not adjust or move it once you are outside
and amongst people. This is because the outside of the mask is contaminated. A recent research
study says that the Covid19 virus can survive on a face mask for up to seven days ! Which means therefore – that if things get desperate and you need to take off your mask for any reason at all –
follow hand hygiene protocols after touching it !

Careful when you take it of

That’s because you need to avoid contaminating your hands and face – and not accidentally touch
the outside of the mask when you take it off. Ensure you do not touch the front of your mask and
nor your eyes, nose and mouth when removing your face covering, and wash your hands after
removing your mask

Keep it away carefully

If you are not washing the mask immediately – keep it away from other stuff in a paper bag.

Wash masks after use

You can hand wash or machine wash masks separately – each time after you wear them. Although
there are no rules or protocols laid down for mask washing – a good rule of thumb is to wash them
as often as we wash our clothes. It’s also a good idea to have a different masks so that one lot can
ensure protection while others are in the wash. And if you’re looking to match masks to outfits or
opt for stylish, hand-crafted ones – then you can decide how many masks you need in your
wardrobe !

Stay safe with social distancing

A mask is very important – but it cannot be a substitute for hand washing protocols and social
distancing in the fight against Covid19. It has its role in the larger scheme of preventive measures
and it is most important that we take on the responsibility of preventing the transmission of Covid19
with our own correct behaviour and of course – with the use right use of face masks and face

Stay well. Stay safe. Let’s all fight Covid19 together.

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