Face Mask Fundamentals
These days, we’re incorporating new routines and a variety of personal protective equipment (PPE) into our daily lives. For seniors, one of the most essential is the face mask.
Taking Care of Yourself or Protecting Others?
As you prepare to leave your home, you may reach for a mask. But which type do you choose?
Fabric masks and disposable masks (surgical or dust masks made of paper) protect others from you. They’re ideal in social distancing situations. But for seniors and those with health risks, a mask that offers more protection is recommended. Filtering/respirator masks, such as the KN95, get their name from their ability to block at least 95% of particles in FDA tests.
While wearing a mask may have become second nature, what about the techniques that ensure they’re effective?
Washing your hands before putting on your mask, making sure it covers your nose and mouth securely (all the way under the chin!), and avoiding touching your mask while wearing it are the basics. Bonus points if you only touch the loops or ties. Another hand-wash before removing the mask is a commonly forgotten safety step.
And those are just the basics! See more tips in action in this video.
Knowing whether your mask is reusable and taking care of it properly are also noteworthy topics.
- Cloth face masks should be laundered after each wearing.
- Disposable masks made of paper are meant for one-time use and cannot be cleaned. (However, if you wore one for a very short time, you may be able to wear it later in the same day.)
- Filtering/respirator masks (KN95/N95) cannot be cleaned but may be reused.
For any mask that you wish to reuse: Be sure to follow the strict protocols above for removing and putting the mask on again. And store your mask carefully; make sure it can’t be touched or fall to the ground.
Any mask that’s damaged or soiled should be discarded: Remove it with clean hands, place it in an enclosed trash container (not an open waste basket) and then wash your hands again.
Learn More About PPE
Thanks to our new friends at SeniorNews.com for these tips! You can find more information about PPE on their website.
image credit: shutterstock/eldar nurkovic