With face coverings becoming mandatory in Victoria from August, millions of Australians have had to quickly get used to the presence of face masks in their everyday life. While face masks are not yet a ‘social norm’ yet, they can play a vital role in the prevention and containment of viruses.
As we slowly ease COVID lockdown restrictions, we can and must change these social norms and accept the fact that face masks are here to stay for an extended period of time if we hope to live with the virus.
Our personal challenge is to turn wearing masks into an easy to implement habit. From mask hygiene right through to selecting the right masks for comfort, we need to get it right and make it easy to maintain.
Here are 6 tips that should help you integrate them into your post-lockdown life with ease.
- Get The Right Face Mask and Accessories
When buying a face mask, fabric or surgical, ensure they are of good quality. Purchase them from a reputable source. There’s a hierarchy of masks in terms of effectiveness. Single or even double layer homemade masks are right at the bottom of this – they’re rarely if ever going to be as effective as a surgical mask or triple-layered fabric face mask. While N95 and P2 masks are being sold in shops and online, and are clearly the most effective in terms of stopping the finer particles passing through the masks, Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) recommends not using these outside of healthcare settings.
At Heathershaw’s, we stock a wide variety of face masks (fabric and surgical) and accessories to make them comfortable to wear. We stock mask extenders to help you get the perfect fit and ear guards to aid people who have to wear them for long durations. We have face masks in smaller sizes for the little ones. If you have an underlying health condition that prevents you from wearing a face mask, we also stock high-quality face shields.
- Get Colourful
Since face masks are here to stay, they are in the process of becoming another way to express ourselves. We cannot think of a better way to normalise their usage. A wide range of colours and prints are available at our pharmacy. From footy club prints to bright block prints – there is something for everyone!
- Care For Your Reusable Masks
Just like you would with any accessory you wear, your face masks need to be cared for correctly. Wash your fabric face masks in soap or detergent, rather than just hot water, at least once a day. Let it completely dry before using it again. Do not share your face mask with others. Please don’t put your reusable face mask in the microwave! Not only is it a fire hazard, it won’t necessarily kill the germs.
- Single-use Face Masks Should Only Be Worn Once
Please do not reuse them, it’s as simple as that!
- Your Mask is Damp – What Does That Mean?
Whether you have a reusable fabric mask, or a single-use surgical mask, do not wear it if it becomes damp. Face masks can become contaminated or lose their effectiveness if they are damp, wet, damaged or dirty. This applies if you sweat into the face masks whilst exercising.
- Face Mask Hygiene is Key
Face masks are not a complete shield against the virus — if you touch your mask with virus on your hands this could cause infection. Similarly, if there is a virus already on the outside of your mask and you touch it, you can transfer it onto your hands, and then onto your face after you have taken the mask off. That’s why personal hygiene and handwashing is so important in and around the use of masks, and particularly at the time you handle the mask in any way.
Even if we manage to curb the spread of the virus this time around, practicing correct face mask hygiene is a must.