Over the last few weeks, we have definitely noticed a surge in face masks being offered for sale on the marketplace. Now in some locations, it's compulsory to wear face masks when leaving the house, some of us might find ourselves wearing face masks for a long period of time.
Today we will share with you some things you should know when choosing and wearing a face mask, backed by science.
1) Not all face masks are made equal
A new recent study has revealed that the type of mask you wear really does matter! It turns out that when we speak, small droplets are expelled out of our mouths, regardless of whether we sneeze or cough. So the disease can spread by an infected person just by talking - crazy hey?!
So some face masks perform better at blocking the spread of droplets, so which ones are best?
The N95 mask and surgical masks are mostly necessary for the front-line workers, for the general public cloth masks made out of cotton or knitted masks showed the ability to block droplets effectively.
Results from the study also showed that bandannas were least effective at blocking droplets, and actually wearing a neck fleece was WORSE than not wearing a facial cover at all.
Wearing the right mask and a fitted mask really does matter!
2) Knowing your face mask materials and layering of materials is important
WHO recommends that a surgical mask has three layers; an absorbent inner layer, a middle layer that filters and a non-absorbent outer layer.
A recent study (still to be peer reviewed) revealed that three layers of either a silk shirt or a 100 percent cotton T-shirt may be just as protective as a medical-grade mask. Tea-towels and anti-microbial pillow cases made of silk, satin or bamboo were found to be better materials than a single layer of cotton as well.
3) Take care of your skin and prevent face mask related skin problems
You might not realise it, but covering your face with a face mask may have consequences for your skin. Wearing a face mask can cause skin problems that range from acne, peeling skin or dry skin, to rashes and itchiness.
Dermatologists recommend to wash your face with a gentle skin cleanser before and after wearing your mask, moisturise before and after wearing your mask using a moisturiser that matches your skin. Avoid wearing make-up under your mask, to help avoid skin clogging, and look after your lips by using petroleum jelly. Read more about their tips here if you're interested to learn more.
4) Always practice good hygiene
Ultimately, wearing a mask is pointless if at the end of the day you aren't practicing good hygiene.
Before putting on your mask, Safe Work Australia recommends that you wash your hands with soap for at least 20 secounds and use hand sanitiser. Dry your hands and do not touch any surfaces before putting on the mask. Hold the mask on the sides, and do not touch the surface of the mask. Ensure the mask is covering your nose, mouth and is fitting underneath your chin.
Before removing the mask, remove your gloves if you are wearing any and wash/sanitise your hands and dry them. When taking off the mask do not touch the surface of the mask. If you are wearing a disposable mask it should be put in a closed bin.
For re-usable masks, put them in a designated area to wash them. Experts say using warm water and any detergent will do the job of cleaning the mask appropriately. It's also recommended to dry the masks on a high heat (depending on the material) or to iron the mask afterwards to help kill any remaining particles.
We hope you enjoyed our article, where we aimed to provide you with recent studies and information sources to assist in your decision making, and ultimately help to protect you and your loved ones, as well as the broader community! Remember; we are all in this together x
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and not as advice. Each person reading this must make their own decision based upon their circumstances and consult their own healthcare professional.