Are we using best practice, or is it an exercise in futility?
“The Correct Way to Wear OUR PE-Personal Protective Equipment. The MASK”
While I was trying to find my next Topic, it came to me on Saturday, when I ventured out for some errands. Where I live, Friday was the day some closed businesses were opening up. So on Saturday, I went to town, which was a slight shock compared to the previous several weeks. It was busy, and the first stop was Lowe’s. The parking lot was full. Inside it was pleasantly efficient. The social distancing and Protection were still in place. It was as if the routine of things were the “Norm.” I was very proud of both the Staff and the patrons.
Then I went to Smith’s Grocery, and the same thing, hectic. But the flow continues the same efficient way. Staff continued to function and provide excellent customer service.
However, I did see on occasions how people wore and handled their masks—being a nurse for as long as I have. Working in the OR and back on the Nursing floor with Isolation patients. The fact we are now using Masks daily for Protection. Well, let’s talk about how we are using these masks and how to use them properly.
As of April 12th, 2020, the CDC has recommended that even healthy people wear Masks when venturing out of their homes where it is challenging to maintain distance from others. It goes on to discuss the efficacy of masks, which won’t be addressed in this post.
However, I do want to talk about how we use masks and proper handling.
In most situations, like in a store, most everyone is distanced appropriately, and clear barriers are in place at the registers. They are protecting the personal spaces of almost everyone.
However, those who need or should wear a mask or are in areas where social distancing is compromised should. There are a few basic things people should know.
Otherwise, the mask could become a source of infection if you are wearing a mask and are exposed or positive for something like the COVID -19 virus.
The mask becomes a vessel and may not protect from the infection.
There is a sure way to place the mask and very definitely to remove the mask.
I witnessed several handling errors while on my outing. I did not wear a mask because I was in places where distance was not an issue. I washed my hands, and while after finishing with my shopping carts, I used my hand sanitizer.
Once I got home, I washed my hands. What concerned me was seeing people removing their masks and wading them up in their hands.
So if there were any contamination on the mask, it was then passed to their hands. Many folks are having fun with reusable Masks. So let us discuss the correct way to wear and remove your mask.
Proper application of Face Mask
Wash your hands first for a minimum of 20 seconds with soap and water.
- Check for any tears or defects. If using disposable or reusable, make sure it is clean and dry.
- Disposable, it is positioned the colored side out.
- If it has a metallic strip, it is placed against the bridge of your nose.
- If the mask has ear loops: place the loops by holding them and setting them over each ear.
- Ties: Tie the top string first, securing a bow. Then tie the bottom string at your neck.
- Mold the metal strip to your nose if applicable.
- Pull the bottom of the mask over your mouth and chin.
- Be sure it fits snug.
- Don’t touch the mask once in place.
- If the mask gets soiled or damp, replace it with a new one.
DO NOT: touch the mask while wearing it. Dangle the mask from one ear. Hang the mask around your neck. Reuse single-use Masks.
Proper Removal of Face Mask
Before removal, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching the mask itself; contact only the loops, ties, Or bands.
- If ties, untie the bottom ties first. Of if loops, unhook both ear loops.
- Holding the mask loops, ties, or bands, discard the mask by placing it in a covered bin.
- Then wash your hands or use hand sanitizer.
So because of my observations that day. May I recommend using masks to include your masks a to-go kit to take with you when you are out and needing to wear your masks?
Hand sanitizer. Something like Ziploc bags or a bag that can contain the used masks.
If you are using reusable masks, the same thing applies. You contain the reusable mask until you place it in the washing machine. And, of course, being mindful of touching your face or mask while you are wearing one. Having hand sanitizer at the ready is an outstanding defense.
The best defense is Social Distance and Wash your hands. For more information, here are a few links.
Remember, we at Think Healthcare solutions are here to help. We can support you in your Healthcare journey and walk you through the Healthcare Maze. Medical Bill Review, Life coaching to help you cope during these challenging times.