Face mask guide: Everything you need to know about the new normal

As masks become mandatory in the UK – and now France, it’s important that not only is the mask you’re wearing fit for purpose, but you’re wearing, and storing it properly.

The coronavirus pandemic that has caused life as we know it to change means that masks will become the new norm for everyday life – as well as an essential item for travel.

 

Choosing the right face mask

Unless you’re a frontline worker, medical face masks do not need to be worn, and instead a face covering with closely woven fabric will be sufficient – and far more eco-friendly than a wear once one. But remember, if you can see light through the fabric in your face mask it won’t offer the required protection for you or others.

Ideally the fabric mask should be made of at least two layers of fabric – and where possible opt for one that is bio-degradable too!

The face mask should fit snuggly, and sit over the bridge of your nose, and along your cheeks, as well as fit well beneath your chin. Adjustable ties behind the ears will also help with the fit of your mask.

You should be able to move your head freely and breath comfortably while wearing it, and remember, wearing a mask does not affect your oxygen levels!

 

Things to consider

 If you wear glasses, you should opt for a face mask that you can adjust, to ensure it fits tightly against the skin. This will limit the warm air that causes condensation.

For people with facial hair, beards need to fit inside the mask to ensure they are effective.

If you suffer from hearing impairment, or come in to contact with someone who does, Action on Hearing Losshas created a guide to help overcome the complications off wearing a face covering. Tips include reducing background noise as much as possible, writing things down, or using simple gestures such as pointing and waving.

 

Wearing your face mask

Before your put your face mask on and before taking it off, ensure your hands are clean – if you’re out and about use hand sanitiser.

Keep your mask in a clean pouch or in a zip lock bag when it’s in your bag to ensure it stays clean – every time you take your mask off spray it with a mixture of rubbing alcohol (or witch hazel), distilled alcohol, and two to three drops of a lavender or citrus essential oil. This will help kill any germs or bacteria in between washes. At the end of the day you MUST wash your mask, with a hot wash of 60C or higher recommended, and ensure it is dried thoroughly before storing.

 

 Face coverings for children

Government guidelines have dictated that children under the age of two, and children unable to put on a mask unassisted should not wear them. Masks for children are available in a variety of sizes.

There are plenty of designs available, so you’re sure to find one that your child likes. It’s important they feel comfortable in their mask, it fits snuggly around the mouth, ears and under the chin.