Face Masks - Everything You Need to Know
Since the Covid-19 pandemic was declared, more and more of us are wanting the added security and protection of a face mask. While face masks are normally associated with the medical profession, many of us have never worn a face covering or even considered wearing one until now.
Which begs the question; how do we wear a face mask correctly and who should be wearing them?
Should You Be Wearing A Face Mask?
As lockdown begins to ease in the UK, Government advice has been slowly indicating that we should be wearing face masks more than we currently are. Initially, it was recommended and a legal requirement that a mask should be worn in an enclosed or crowded space such as on public transport or in a busy supermarket where social distancing measures may not be able to be adhered to. Locations such as salons and barbershops are already encouraging face mask use to protect customers and staff due to the close nature of the work they carry out.
The latest government advice as of July 14th 2020 is that face masks will be mandatory when out shopping in England as of July 24th. Failure to do so could even result in a £100 fine by the police, with shops being encouraged to help enforce this. This comes after face coverings were made mandatory in Scotland on July 10th.
Legal Requirements for Face Masks
- Face coverings are compulsory on public transport - Since June 15th 2020
- Face coverings are compulsory in shops in Scotland - Since July 10th 2020
- Face coverings are compulsory in shops in England - From July 24th 2020
- Face Masks are not currently compulsory in Wales and Northern Ireland but this remains under constant review.
Face masks are not foolproof; they need to be worn in accordance with directions and accompanied by regular hand washing with hand sanitiser and correct disposal in order to provide the best form of protection.
Where to buy a face mask Online
Since the pandemic began you may have seen the emergence of plenty of types of face mask, whether you’ve seen fashion style cloth face masks or surgical style face masks it can be quite confusing is to which is right.
Here at Tower Health we stock a range of face masks for you to choose from, including:
Disposable Masks - Available in packs of 50
These disposable face masks contain 3-ply antibacterial filtration layers which offer the wearer increased protection from inhalation of droplets and fine particles which may contain the virus.
They are comfortable to wear, lightweight and breathable. As you are wearing a fresh mask each time you can feel confident that your whole family is safe.
Washable Face Masks (Reusable masks) - Available in packs of 5, 2 and 1
These can be safely reused once they are sterilized in boiling water and are ideal for wearing daily in predominantly populated areas as a preventative measure in line with social distancing and anti-contagion precautions.
Protection against bacteria, dust and particles through a 5 layer mask.
Child-friendly masks are smaller versions of our antibacterial face masks to better fit smaller faces.
All the face coverings stocked at Tower Health are suitable for the current government guidance and should be worn in accordance with social distancing measures, as well as maintaining good hand hygiene.
If you are unable to buy a face mask, the government have created an easy to follow guide on how to make a face mask. Whatever you choose, this must be fitted to ensure it covers your mouth and nose securely.
For the very latest updates and information on the Coronavirus, visit the government’s website here.
How To Wear A Face mask Correctly:
The current advice from the World Health Organisation is:
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before putting the mask on. If this is not possible, use a hand sanitizer with an alcohol base
- Ensure the mask is covering your mouth and nose and there are no gaps between the mask and your face
- Avoid touching your mask while using it, if this does happen simply sanitise your hands or wash them with soap and water
- Do not re-use your mask unless it specifies that it is reusable
- Remove your mask from behind your head making sure not to touch the front of the mask, dispose of it correctly and wash your hands.
Fabric Face Mask or Surgical Face Mask
While anybody can wear a surgical face mask, it is recommended that certain people avoid using fabric face masks.
Can I wear a fabric face mask?
Fabric face masks should only be worn by those under the age of 60 when the person does not have any underlying health conditions. Masks should be worn when out shopping, on public transport or anywhere else where social distancing may be more difficult.
Should I wear a medical/surgical face mask?
While anybody can wear this type of mask, it is especially recommended that the following people only opt for surgical style face masks.
- Healthcare professionals
- Those with Covid-19 symptoms (These people should only be leaving their home if they absolutely must for healthcare reasons)
- Those looking after somebody who has Covid related symptoms
- Anyone over the age of 60 when out in areas likely to be busy (shops, public transport etc)
- Anyone with underlying health issues when out in areas likely to be busy (shopping, public transport etc)
It is important that if you know somebody who meets the criteria above that you mention to them that they should avoid using fabric masks and instead opt for a medical-style mask instead for extra protection.
Face Masks - Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few frequently asked questions regarding face masks and a few myths that have been fact-checked by the World Health Organisation.
Q. Should I wear a face mask while exercising?
A. No. face masks should not be worn during exercise as in this case it could hinder your breathing. Sweat buildup on the inside of your mask promotes the growth of microorganisms. The key advice for those out exercising is to do so in quiet locations. Avoid crowded areas and maintain social distance.
Q. Can I get CO2 poisoning from wearing my face mask too long?
A. The prolonged wearing of face masks can indeed be uncomfortable but will not lead to CO2 intoxication or oxygen deficiency. DO NOT re-use a disposable face mask and always dispose of your mask when it gets damp.
Q. How do you sterilize a face mask?
A. Fabric, Washable or reusable masks can be sterilised in boiling water.
Q. Will a face-covering stop me getting COVID-19?
A. Masks are an additional layer of protection to help stop the spread of Covid-19. Masks alone will not prevent you from catching the virus, and people ate urged to still observe social distancing where possible and good hand hygiene.
Q. How often should you use a face mask?
A. Disposable masks should be worn once and disposed of when damp. Reusable masks can be worn a number of times as long as they are sterilized after each use. For reusable masks, it’s a good idea to have more than one so that you always have a mask ready and sterilized when needed.
Q. Can you wash a disposable mask?
A. No. Disposable masks are designed to be worn once only. Only reusable masks or fabric masks can be washed and re-worn.
Q. How do you dispose of face masks?
A. Remove your mask from behind the head (using the elastic) place the mask in a closed bin and wash your hands immediately with an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
If you have further questions about face masks, please refer to the official guidance from the World Health Organisation.