7 Things You Should Never Be Doing With Your Face Mask

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<p>There’s no better visual indicator that we’re living in a “new normal” than the proliferation of face masks. No longer the hallmark of a hypochondriac, a face mask is now a badge of good citizenship. That’s because<a href=”https://bestlifeonline.com/masks-stop-coronavirus/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”> wearing one helps you protect yourself</a> and others by limiting the spread of droplet diseases like COVID-19. This is particularly important now that we know that it can be spread by pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic carriers. But if you use a face mask incorrectly (and most people do), it’s rendered almost useless. With the help of experts, we’ve compiled a list of face mask mistakes that are very easy to make. Looking for more ways to protect yourself? Check out these <a href=”https://bestlifeonline.com/mask-precautions/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>7 Precautions You Must Take Before Wearing a Mask</a>.</p>
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<div class=”title”>Putting your mask on with unwashed hands.</div>
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<p><img class=”alignnone size-large wp-image-231032″ src=”https://i1.wp.com/bestlifeonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/older-man-putting-on-mask.jpg?resize=1024%2C653&ssl=1″ alt=”older white man putting on face mask” width=”1024″ height=”653″ data-recalc-dims=”1″ /></p>
<p>There’s a reason your doctor washes their hand the instant they enter the exam room— it’s the first line of defense to keeping yourself and others safe from viruses. <strong>Wendy McCulloch</strong>, a Clinical Nurse Adviser at <a href=”https://optimummedical.co.uk/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>Optimum Medical</a>, says people often forget this step, particularly if they’re applying their mask after leaving the house. She says, “If you’re out of the house, use hand sanitizer before putting on your mask. And when you get home, wash your hands straight away, even if you were wearing gloves outside.” That way, there’s less of a risk of cross-contamination. For more information on proper hand-washing technique, check out <a href=”https://bestlifeonline.com/biggest-mask-mistake/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>The No. 1 Mask Mistake You’re Probably Making</a>.</p>
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<div class=”title”>Touching the front of your mask when you remove it.</div>
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<p><img class=”alignnone size-large wp-image-231030″ src=”https://i1.wp.com/bestlifeonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/woman-touching-face-mask.jpg?resize=1024%2C683&ssl=1″ alt=”woman touching the front of her face mask” width=”1024″ height=”683″ data-recalc-dims=”1″ /></p>
<p>Once you wear a mask outside, you should assume it is contaminated—even if you only picked up curbside delivery. For that reason, you should never touch the front of the mask itself when taking it off. “Don’t grab the mask with a full palm-and-fingers grip across the face,” cautions <strong>Cara Natterson</strong>, MD, founder of <a href=”http://www.worryproofmd.com/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>Worry Proof Consulting</a> and author of <em>Decoding Boys.</em> “Instead, use your thumb and index finger to pull the mask away from your face and up and over your head.” This advice echoes the World Health Organization recommendation to take off your mask by <a href=”https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/when-and-how-to-use-masks” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>removing the elastics or straps</a> from behind your ears.</p>
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<div class=”title”>Sharing your mask with other people.</div>
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<p><img class=”alignnone size-large wp-image-231028″ src=”https://i1.wp.com/bestlifeonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/woman-putting-mask-on-man.jpg?resize=1024%2C683&ssl=1″ alt=”woman putting mask on man outdoors” width=”1024″ height=”683″ data-recalc-dims=”1″ /></p>
<p>Sharing a mask with someone else—even someone who is in your “quarantine pod,” like your spouse or roommate— can be dangerous. <strong>Cara Pensabene</strong>, MD, Medical Director at <a href=”https://www.ehe.health” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>EHE Health</a> says, “Masks should always be worn by only one person, then tossed out if they are disposable, or washed properly. If you share masks, you could be passing the virus to the other person.” Consider buying cloth masks in fun patterns so each family member knows which mask is whose. And for more advice to pass on to your family, check out <a href=”https://bestlifeonline.com/tell-kids-coronavirus/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>The One Thing You Must Tell Your Kids to Do Amid Coronavirus</a>.</p>
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<div class=”number”>4</div>
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<p><img class=”alignnone size-large wp-image-229790″ src=”https://i1.wp.com/bestlifeonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/masks-in-school.jpg?resize=1024%2C683&ssl=1″ alt=”Students wearing protection masks to prevent coronavirus in classroom” width=”1024″ height=”683″ data-recalc-dims=”1″ /></p>
<p>We get it—masks are uncomfortable! But once you properly put on your mask, leave it where it is. Don’t adjust it. Pensabene says, “Don’t pull the mask away from your face to talk or just for a moment to breathe easier…. If you mistakenly touch your eyes, nose or mouth while adjusting your mask, it increases your risk of possible viral exposure.” And if you want to stay safe out there, make sure you know <a href=”https://bestlifeonline.com/face-mask-valve/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>The One Type of Mask You Should Never Wear</a>.</p>
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<div class=”number”>5</div>
<div class=”title”>Storing your mask in your pocket.</div>
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<p><img class=”alignnone size-large wp-image-231021″ src=”https://i1.wp.com/bestlifeonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/cloth-mask-jeans-pocket.jpg?resize=1024%2C768&ssl=1″ alt=”mask in the pocket of a pair of jeans” width=”1024″ height=”768″ data-recalc-dims=”1″ /></p>
<p>Be mindful of <a href=”https://bestlifeonline.com/how-to-store-your-face-mask/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>where you store your mask</a>, since it could harbor COVID-19 in its fibers—contaminating whatever surface it’s placed on. Pensabene explains, “If you store the mask in any way that allows it to come into contact with your personal belongings (like in your pocket), you’re allowing the virus to travel from person-to-person.” The CDC says you should store the mask in a plastic bag for maximum protection. And definitely don’t place the mask on an unclean surface, like in a grocery cart!</p>
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<p><img class=”alignnone size-large wp-image-231035″ src=”https://i1.wp.com/bestlifeonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/spraying-disinfectant-onto-cloth.jpg?resize=1024%2C683&ssl=1″ alt=”man spraying disinfectant onto white cloth” width=”1024″ height=”683″ data-recalc-dims=”1″ /></p>
<p>Given that masks are a limited commodity, it seems logical to just <a href=”https://bestlifeonline.com/face-mask-cleaning-mistakes/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>disinfect and reuse them</a>. However, Pensabene warns people against using disinfectants to clean masks. She says, “Reports indicate that <a href=”https://www.medicaljournals.se/acta/content_files/files/pdf/95/5/4266.pdf” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>spraying masks with disinfectants</a> can create a secondary problem, called contact urticaria, which occurs when disinfectants are inhaled” and can cause skin swelling and redness. Plus, once your mask is wet, it’s rendered useless.</p>
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<div class=”title”>Leaving your mask at home when you go outside.</div>
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<p><img class=”alignnone size-large wp-image-231024″ src=”https://i0.wp.com/bestlifeonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/cloth-mask-drying-rack.jpg?resize=1024%2C683&ssl=1″ alt=”black cloth mask on drying rack” width=”1024″ height=”683″ data-recalc-dims=”1″ /></p>
<p>Ultimately, the biggest mask mistake is not wearing one. Think of mask-wearing as just another healthy habit you want to form. For example, if you were trying to exercise more regularly, you might leave your running shoes by the front door as a visual reminder. The same thing goes for your mask.</p>
<p>Natterson explains, “We’re more likely to repeat a behavior if [we] build it into [our] routine. So leave a mask on an entry table or hook hanging by the front door.” And if you want to reduce your risk of becoming ill, make sure you know these <a href=”https://bestlifeonline.com/coronavirus-contaminated-home-surfaces/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>7 Home Surfaces Most Likely to Be Contaminated with Coronavirus</a>.</p>

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