The Right Way to Use Protective Gear for COVID-19
The question of Protective Gear for COVID-19. The fear of COVID-19 infection has us scrambling for information on how to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.
However, there is much confusion among the community about the best ways to protect ourselves and our loved ones. What’s the right way to use protective gear for COVID-19?
So, to help clarify some of the most common doubts, we’ve prepared an informative Q&A with some of the questions we get asked the most.
How Can I Get Tested for the Coronavirus?
Can a Face Mask Protect Me from Getting Infected?
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is now recommending that everyone, even seemingly healthy people, wear face masks when out in public.
There is a lot of debate on whether face masks can prevent infection or not. One thing we do know is that they can help show the spread of the virus.
Many people who carry the virus never develop symptoms, so they may not know they have it, yet they can spread the virus to others. Wearing face coverings can significantly reduce the number of droplets expelled when we breathe or talk, and this means fewer chances for the infection to spread.
Types of Face Masks
There many types of face coverings, but not all of them are good choices for preventing the spread of COVID-19.
The N95 mask used by healthcare workers is the most effective at preventing viral spread. When properly fitted, the cover seals tightly to the face and filters out 95% of particles.
The problem is that there is a severe shortage of N95 masks at the time. Even healthcare workers who are caring for COVID-19 patients have a hard time finding these masks.
There is also a short supply of surgical masks; therefore, the CDC does not recommend them for the general public. Aside from being hard to find, they aren’t as effective as the N95’s for several reasons:
- They don’t have non-woven polypropylene layers that resist moisture.
- About 70% of the outside air moves through the mask, but the other 30% travels unfiltered through the sides.
Fabric masks are the CDC’s preferred choice for the general public. These masks are low cost; you can make them at home using household materials and fabrics, and the best part is they are reusable.
The CDC states that a fabric face covering should:
- Fit comfortably yet tightly against the sides of your face
- Be made from multiple layers of fabric
- Have ties or ear loops to secure it
- Allow you to breathe without restriction
- Made from a material that can be machined washed and dried without being damaged or have it change in shape
You should not use face covering on children under the age of two or anyone who has trouble breathing.
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How Should I Care for My Cloth Face Mask?
You should wash your cloth face-covering frequently, depending on how often you use it. Just place it in the washer machine and use the same detergent you use for your other clothes.
How to Properly Put on a Face Mask?
There are several simple steps to follow to make sure you are using your face covering correctly.
- Wash your hands with soap and water before you put on a mask
- Place the mask on your face making sure it covers your mouth and nose. Ensure there are no gaps between your face and the mask
- Avoid touching the mask while you are wearing it. If you do immediately wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Replace the mask with a different one as soon as you notice it is damp. Never reuse a single-use mask.
- Always remove the mask from behind, don’t touch the front of the mask as you could inadvertently touch your face. Wash the cloth face mask as soon as you remove it. If you are using a single-use mask, dispose of it immediately after using it.
Know Where to Go in Case of an Emergency.
Should You Wear Gloves When Out in Public?
Experts are also having a heated debate on whether using gloves is an effective way to prevent contagion.
The problem with gloves is you can still pick up the virus, and if you happen to touch your face or you touch the exterior of the glove while removing it, you can still have contact with the virus.
Even if you wear gloves, you still must wash your hands after you remove them.
Social Distancing Guidelines
The best way to stop the spread of the virus is to practice social distancing. Here is how you can do it:
- Avoid crowded places
- Avoid handshakes, hugs, and kisses when greeting people
- Keep a distance of at least 2-arm lengths (6.5 feet) between you and other people
- Try not to go shopping or use public transportation during peak hours
- Exercise at home or outside away from other people
- Stay home as much as possible
As members of a community, it is our responsibility to do everything we can to help flatten the curve of COVID-19.
At Altus Emergency Centers, we recommend you inform yourself only from trusted sources, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to avoid misinformation.