Coronavirus COVID-19 Face Masks?

 

Wearing a face mask during a grocery run is not something any of us in the Kneeland community ever imagined having to do just a few short months ago. But as we navigate the new State and County standards of safety and protection during this global pandemic, we’re becoming all too familiar with the practice. The CDC recommended standard N-95 rated mask has become hard to find and at current prices is not economically practical for most of us since it is a one-time use disposable mask. 
Strange as it may seem, the CDC’s recommendation for individuals to wear cloth face coverings in public settings has led to many statewide mandates, turning the wearing of face masks into a “new normal”. 
So, does everyone know how to wear, handle and properly care for their re-usable cloth face masks? The answer, understandably, is that most do not.
If you don’t have a background in healthcare, you’ve probably never even touched a protective face mask before now, so it’s only natural to feel a little unsure of proper usage. That’s why I'm sharing this simple guide!
How to Wear & Care for Protective Face Masks:
Basically you have two types of the most common face masks used for virus and particle protection used by the public.
• One time use DISPOSABLE which includes most N95, medical masks and dust masks.
• Cloth RE-USABLE. (Should have multiple layers to be effective.) most scarves are not sufficient.

*Social Distancing is still a smart additional protection even with facemask use.

Handling Your Protective Face Mask:
One thing we’ve all become accustomed to lately, is the frequent washing of our hands. Washing your hands before placing your face mask onto your face will reduce the risk of infection, for yourself as well as for others. Although your hands were clean when you initially donned your face mask, you also want to remember to avoid touching the mask while wearing it and to wash your hands once again after removing it. “Better safe than sorry”. If washing your hands is not convenient use a good antimicrobial alcohol-based wipes or spray containing at least 70% alcohol. You can carry a number of these in your purse or pocket ready when you need it. 
How to Wear Your Mask:
A protective face mask should fully cover your nose and mouth in order to effectively protect you, as well as other’s nearby, from respiratory droplets. You can ensure proper coverage by fitting the mask across the bridge of your nose and extending the material down to fully cover your mouth.
Your chin does not need to be fully covered by the mask to ensure proper coverage for your mouth but many find it helpful to wear their masks in this manner.
Ensuring a Proper Fit:
If your protective mask comes with elastic ear straps, ribbons or bands, they should be wrapped securely behind your ears, to ensure a proper fit. Slight gapping, between your skin and the mask, may form at your cheeks which is common and does not reduce the masks efficacy.
Two signs of a properly positioned mask are breathability and comfort. If your mask feels extremely tight or seems to constrict your air flow, you may want to try repositioning it or opting for a different mask.
Caring For & Maintaining a Reusable Masks:
The beauty of a re-usable cloth face mask is that it can be washed and worn over and over again. Cloth masks can be placed in the washer and dryer with your laundry or washed separately with warm soapy water and then set to air dry. Have 2-3 cloth re-usable masks available to you. Once you used it place it in a zip-lock bag ready for the washer! If you’re using single-use, disposable masks, then you can simply throw it away after wearing it in a public area.
I hope this helps you with our new normal, hopefully this will all end soon and we can get back to our own normal!

 Rick Hardin - Former KFPD Chief