Tips for wearing a face mask

Tips for wearing a face mask

In line with other states across the nation and CDC guidance, the Illinois stay-at-home May 1 order extension requires wearing a face covering in public places such as grocery stores and pharmacies or at work. Any individual who is over the age of two and medically able to tolerate a face-covering is required to cover their nose and mouth.

While many have already been wearing a mask, it’s important to do it right. Dr. Kamo Sidhwa, infectious disease specialist at Advocate South Suburban Hospital suggests taking the following actions to ensure your safety:

  • Masks should be washed daily with regular detergent or soap after initial use.
  • It may need to be washed by hand or in the gentle cycle of the washing machine if made of delicate material. It may be also be worthwhile to have a few masks available while you are cleaning.
  • If elastic is in the mask, it needs to be checked to make sure it has not lost its elasticity and remains secure and fitted when wearing.
  • Once your mask is visibly soiled or damaged, you should discard it and start using a new one.
  • Be careful when removing dirty masks to ensure you aren’t touching your face until after you wash your hands.

Safe masking is an important step we can take in helping prevent the spread of COVID-19, but Dr. Sidhwa also reminds us that masks does not take the place of social distancing.

“The point of these coverings is to lessen the chance that a potentially asymptomatic infected individual may spread their infection to others,” says Dr. Sidhwa. “Distancing is still the most important thing we can do to decrease overall spread.”

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  1. Peter WERNER, M.D. May 1, 2020 at 11:42 am · Reply

    Try NOT to touch the Outside of the Mask, when removing it, since it may have Viral Particles sitting on the Outside Surface of the Mask!!!
    Hand washing: use a Soap which ‘foams a Lot’ , supposedly the Most assured Way to remove ‘Particulate Matter’ from the Surface of the Hands.

    • LESLIE APFELBECK May 20, 2020 at 8:49 am · Reply

      Thanks for the tip re: foaming soap – we use a (Method brand) gel soap, but they do make a foaming soap; we thought since it’s more water, it might not be as good as the gel – which is all soap.

  2. I would love to see more public messaging – including simple graphics – about how to appropriately wear a face mask / face covering for the general public – I see a lot of people wearing them just covering their mouths, but their noses are still exposed; or, people wearing them but then lowering them to talk to someone. Both habits defeat the purpose of the mask! Please help spread the word about how to wear them correctly! Thanks.

  3. I would love information on how to breath well with them Or tricks to make it easier. Twice while wearing them I have gotten lightheaded and on the verge of passing out. I’m theorizing that I am breathing in my own carbon dioxide. I’ve ended up having to remove it while in the store since I figured passing out would cause far more of a panic. Luckily it was at times when there were not many people in the store and distance was very simple to maintain.

  4. I put on and take off by using the elastic on the sides. I try not to touch mask it self, and always put it down on a clean surface or paper towel

  5. regarding how to breath well in a surgical type mask, if after first applying the mask you roll/ flip up the bottom on time it is just enough to allow enough space away from your chin to allow your air out so you don’t over heat. We are trying to be safe and are not in aa sterile procedure. I learned this while assisting in procedures, suggested by a physician. Also learning t breath solely from your nose will help. That’s very hard for all the mouth breathers in the world. Start by blowing your nose often and clean your own natural filter and train yourself when not wearing the mask. Good Luck, Stay safe, don’t forget good hand washing.

  6. Where are people buying masks? I continue to search when I am out but can’t find any (or disinfectant wipes). I sewed my own by hand (took 2 hours to do) but my hair gets all tangled up when I tie it on.

  7. Adjora F Stevens May 5, 2020 at 8:59 am · Reply

    I’ve bought masks online (from China), from my hairstylist, and from a friend who is a clothing designer who sells online.

  8. I wear glasses and found I have a problem with them fogging up when I wear a mask. I’ve tried a few tricks recommended by nurses I know, but nothing seems to work. So, I either take my glasses off or walk around in a “fog”. Any suggestions? Thanks.

    • Donna Daufenbach May 13, 2020 at 8:34 am · Reply

      A thin strip of double stick tape across the center of the upper edge can adhere it to your skin from your nose to the middle of your cheek. Or you can apply a thin strip of plastic using the double stick tape. A thin plastic like a sandwich baggie works well. The mask should also have a thin metal strip on the exterior to help mold it around your nose.

  9. Walgreens on 107 Cicero have surgical masks.
    Go to the camera section they also have disinfected.,Tuesday’s and Fridays they usually restock. Stay safe. God Bless

About the Author

Marrison Worthington
Marrison Worthington

Marrison Worthington, health enews contributor, is a public affairs and marketing manager at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Illinois. She is a graduate of Illinois State University and has several years of global corporate communications experience under her belt. Marrison loves spending her free time traveling, reading organizational development blogs, trying new cooking recipes, and playing with her golden retriever, Ari.