Are you wearing a face covering when you are in shared public spaces? Great! Are you remembering to keep the recommended 6-foot distance between you and others even with your mask on? Excellent! You are a super hero!
My first time out with a facemask felt awkward. It was truly uncomfortable. It takes some getting used to. Then, I looked around and nearly everyone was sporting their newly designed masks. Definitely helped with the awkwardness!
Was it uncomfortable on my face? Yes. Did it feel stuffy? Yes. Did my glasses get steamed up? Yes. Did I want to readjust my mask almost constantly? Yep.
So, I went back to the Internet to figure out if there were any secrets to wearing a cloth face covering. Here’s what I found:
- Wash your hands before putting on your mask.
- Pick up your face covering by the ties or ear loops.
- When you put your mask on, tie it a bit tighter than you think. As you move your chin and mouth it will loosen the straps. If your mask has elastic ear holders, and they feel a little loose, twist them if it’s possible.
- Don’t pull your face covering up and down while you are wearing it no matter how uncomfortable it feels. Keeping your hands clear of your face is very important.
- Make sure your nose, all the way up to the bridge of your nose, is covered.
- Your chin, all the way down, and under has to be covered.
- No gaps allowed! Your mask should be snug.
- Even though you may see reporters on television pushing their masks down under their chins, don’t do it! If you need to take your mask off for a short period of time: fold it with the front surfaces touching.
- If your face covering has pleats, then here’s the rule: pleats up on the back, and pleats down in the front. (Less crevices for airborne particles to land!)
Now, here’s how to take off your mask:
- Use the ties or loops and pull the mask off.
- Don’t touch the front of the mask.
- Put your mask in a pillowcase (keep one by the door) and wash it in the washing machine using hot water. Completely dry your face covering and then keep it in a dry place. An article on NPR says: Think of a mask like underwear. It needs to be washed after each use.
- Wash your hands!
And now: How to keep your glasses from fogging up while you are wearing a face covering. I found several hacks, but it seems that nothing really work very well. The problem is that your warm, moist breaths escapes through the top of your mask, hits the cooler lens, and then begins to condense. It’s frustrating! Here were two of the best suggestions.
- Wash your glasses with warm soapy water. The idea is that the soapy water will break the surface tension and leave behind a film that will make it more difficult for droplets to condense. This methods works only for a few minutes. (Yep, I tried it.)
- Try to direct your breath downward as you exhale. Still not ideal, but better than nothing.
If you are making your own face covering or know someone who is, sew or insert a small wire (it could be a pipe cleaner, a straightened paper clip, or even a twist tie from the bread bag) into the top of the mask so that it can be pushed closer to your face. When you are really frustrated, remember that wearing glasses actually provides you with more protection!
Please remember that wearing a face covering is not a substitution for maintaining social distancing. The real benefits of wearing a face mask if you need to go out to a public setting, is it may prevent others from becoming sick. Facemask remind us to not touch our face.
But, really important, wearing a face covering is a visual way of sharing that we take our responsibility seriously and that we are all in this together.