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The correct way to wear a mask

Wearing a mask helps slow the spread of COVID-19. And yes, you still need to wear a mask if you are vaccinated.

By Maryann Savina Xavier
26 Apr 2021

Wearing a mask helps slow the spread of COVID-19. And yes, you still need to wear a mask if you are vaccinated.


You can play a critical role in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Take the basic precautions—maintain social distance, wash your hands regularly and cough or sneeze into your elbow. But most importantly, wear a mask. Masks save lives.


1. Wash your hands properly before and after handling a mask. Touch it only from the strings or the bands—the front of the mask may be contaminated.



2. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recommends that you should wear a mask that fits your face snugly. Any gaps around the edges of your mask will create room for COVID droplets. A mask that fits will not fog up spectacles or sunglasses. You will know if you have worn your mask correctly when you feel warm air passing through the mask. The fabric will also move in/out as you breathe.



3. Wear a mask with nose wires. The metal strip located on the top of the mask should be bent securely over your nose.



4. According to the World Health Organization, people who work in healthcare settings or those who provide support to COVID patients should wear surgical masks. Medical grade masks like N95 and KN95 filter up to 95% of tiny particles in the air but these masks should be prioritised for usage in healthcare settings. People who are above 60 years or more and those with underlying health conditions can safely wear fabric masks in areas with a large number of COVID cases.



5. If you wear a disposable mask under a cloth mask ensure that you can see and breathe easily. Do not wear two disposable masks together.



6. It is safe to use a fabric mask even when distancing of 1 metre can’t be achieved. These masks can also be used in public settings or travel. Remember to wash your cloth mask after every use. The CDC advises that you store your mask in a dry breathable bag, paper or fabric, if you intend to reuse your masks.


7. A study in the Biophysical Journal suggests that layered masks (two layers of a blend of cotton and polyester) reduced the chances of leakage of air. The CDC advices against the usage of masks with vents or valves or single layer masks made of thin fabric—ones that don’t block light.





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