5 mistakes you are unknowingly making with your face masks that increase your risk of virus contraction

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New Delhi: Little did anyone know around 6 months ago, that seeing each other’s half-face covered with a piece of cloth will become the new normal. However, the COVID-19 pandemic changed a lot all around the world, and normal life as we knew it, is one of the many things. With no specific cure or vaccine for the coronavirus infection available as of now, a healthy first line of defence of the body, and some key precautions remain of utmost importance in battling the global health crisis.

One such precautionary measure is wearing face masks or face covers whenever you are out in public. With reports of the coronavirus being airborne with substantial evidence making their way recently, wearing face masks or face coverings seemed to have become even more important. While some experts have suggested that people should wear a mask even indoors, especially if someone in the house has COVID-19-like symptoms, other recommend that face coverings must be worn in public spaces, especially where social distancing is not possible.

5 mistakes you are unknowingly making with face covers

We all are guilty of not changing our face masks as and when we should, or not washing them after every use. Some of us may also be sharing masks with family members, which is a strict no-no. However, this article is not about the mistakes you are making when you know you shouldn’t be, this is about mistakes you did not even know you are making with your face covers that only raises your risk of infections.

  1. Use of N-95 masks – If one is to go by the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, your face mask should cover your nose and mouth completely. N95 masks usually have valves, which may not stop the virus from escaping the mask. N-95 masks are usually used to keep pollutants out of your respiratory system and are recommended for use during the smog, or when air conditions are harmful to sensitive groups.
  2. Pulling your mask down to your neck – Very often, when no one is around and we need some fresh air, we pull the mask down to our neck. What we do not realise is that little extra effort of taking the mask off can help us prevent diseases and infections. Your neck is bare at all times and can be host to sweat, dirt, and pathogens that can cause disease. Similarly, pulling your mask up to your forehead can also have the same effect.
  3. Cross-contaminating – A lot of us know that we should wash, or dispose of our face masks after each use. While most people think this is important because your mask is now contaminated, they are right. However, what they do not know is, the mask can further contaminate the surface that you keep it on. It is highly advisable to dispose of the mask after each use or wash it between uses.
  4. Wearing the same mask all-day – Many people have had to resume going to office, or be in the public space all day. In such a case, they need to keep wearing a face mask all day. However, not only do they not bother to wash it between uses, but they also wear the same mask all day. Experts suggest that you must change/wash/ disinfect your mask every two hours, or else it is likely to harbour germs and pathogens that may cause infections.
  5. Spraying your mask with disinfectants – Spraying your masks with disinfectants may seem right in order to reduce your risk, but anything that makes your mask wet is likely to make it less effective. Inhaling disinfectants can also be harmful, especially for people who have allergies or asthma.

A tight-weave, cotton face cover, that can be washed and dried after every use is the best-suited face cover to wear, according to a few experts. It is breathable, washable, and can restrict the entry of pathogens.

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