Whether they are vaccinated or not, COVID-19 can be spread by people who do not have symptoms and do not know that they are infected. Unwittingly, they can spread the virus through coughs, sneezes or even a conversation. That is why emphasis has been placed on consistent use of face masks in healthcare facilities. The most common type of regulatory non-compliance cited in nursing homes during 2020 was improper use of PPE. Some of the deficiencies noted included staff improperly wearing face masks. Thus, knowing how to properly and safely wear a mask is important to protecting the health and financial wellness of a facility.
Combined with other hygiene and preventative practices, masks work best when everyone in a facility correctly wears them. However, not all masks provide the same protection. For example, surgical masks are fluid resistant and provide protection against large droplets, splashes, or sprays of bodily or other hazardous fluids. They also protect residents or patients from the wearer’s respiratory emissions. However, N95 respirators reduce the wearer’s exposure to particles including small particle, non-oil aerosols and large droplets.
Mask selection tips
When choosing a mask, look at how well it fits, how well it filters the air, and how many layers it has. It is recommended to select:
- Masks with two or more layers of material
- Masks that completely cover the nose and mouth
- Masks that fit snugly against the sides of your face and don’t have gaps
- Masks that have a nose wire to prevent air from leaking out of the top of the mask
How to wear a mask
A mask should fit snugly against the face, cover your nose and mouth, and allow you to breathe easily. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before putting on or removing your mask. To care for your mask or face covering and avoid spreading germs, don’t touch it while wearing it. If you do, wash your hands. If you have to touch/adjust your mask often, it doesn’t fit you properly, and you may need to find a different mask or make adjustments.
To take off a mask, carefully stretch the ear loops or head bands. Handle the mask only by the ear loops or bands. Then, fold the outside corners together. Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth when removing the mask and wash your hands immediately after removing it.
How not to wear a mask
When not in use, don’t put your mask around your neck, on your chin, on your forehead, on your arm or leave it dangling from one ear.
Disposable masks, like surgical masks, are not intended to be used more than once. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that disposable face masks be discarded and replaced if they become soiled, damaged, or hard to breathe through. To safely discard a surgical mask, place it in a plastic bag and put it in the trash. Wash your hands after handling the used mask. Supply360 has wide array of medical-grade face masks and other PPE products. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you protect your staff and those you serve.