For months now, you have been taking every reasonable precaution to avoid getting COVID-19. You have washed your hands more times than you can count, you have purchased and used a huge quantity of hand sanitizer and you have been careful to stay as far apart from others while at the supermarket.
You have also been very good about wearing a face mask when out in public. You understand that this practice can really help cut back on public spread of the virus, and you want to do your part. At the same time, you are wondering — now that your fave burger joint reopened — how to handle mask wearing in certain scenarios other than the grocery store.
With this great question in mind, let’s start by going over some basic dos and don’ts of mask-wearing, and then look at a couple specific situations.
General Tips for Mask Wearing
You should wash your hands or use hand sanitizer prior to putting on your mask, Pfizer recommends. Make sure it fully covers your nose and mouth and also fits snugly on the sides of your face. While you might like the Green Bay Packers cloth mask your aunt made you, you noticed it has huge gaps on the sides when you are wearing it, which means it is not fitting correctly. A better and safer choice would be N95 face masks: these masks, which you can find at retailers like Green Supply, feature head straps that help the mask seal well to your face and offer filtration at greater than 95 percent. Disposable face masks should be worn once and then thrown away, and cloth masks should be washed after every use.
As for the major “don’ts” of face mask-wearing, please do not pull the mask down, exposing your nose and/or mouth—this really defeats the purpose of wearing it in the first place. And as much as you can, avoid touching the part of the mask that covers your face when you are wearing it. When it is time to remove it, use the ear loops to take it off.
What About at the Gym?
For folks with gym memberships who are happy to see that their local workout places are open again, you may be wondering how to handle wearing a mask while jogging on a treadmill. The answer, in a very small nutshell, is that you should definitely wear it at all times while at the gym. Fortunately, wearing a mask will not change the concentration of oxygen that you breathe in, so you should be able to work out as usual. However, if you feel uncomfortable wearing one at the gym, you may want to stick with exercises you can do in the great outdoors and far away from others, like walking or jogging on a deserted street.
I Need That Burger!
When you head back to your beloved burger restaurant, take your mask with you. You will probably need it to enter, and wearing it will protect the people around you. As Beaufort Memorial notes, leave it on when ordering and when your food shows up, carefully remove your mask by the ear loops and place it in a Ziploc bag. When finished with your meal, put the mask back on until you leave the establishment.
Mask Up Correctly and Often
By knowing the dos and don’ts of mask-wearing, including when you should have one on, you will continue to be as safe as possible as we get through this pandemic. From choosing a snug face mask that covers your nose and mouth well like an N95 and keeping those hands clean to continuing to wear a mask at the gym and when eating out, you can rest assured you are doing everything as correctly as you can.
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