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Drew: How to stay safe by properly-wearing a face mask

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By Samuetta Hill Drew

During this COVID – 19 coronavirus pandemic, the focus of our safety articles has been to share various ways to protect oneself under different circumstances using safety recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The initial articles featured a “What If” series based upon possible real-life COVID – 19 scenarios.

Several weeks ago, as conversations began to shift from “Sheltering in Place” to the “Opening Up of America”, a new series started entitled “How To.” The “How To” series emphasized the proper usage of key CDC safety precautionary recommendations meant to help citizens remain safe when at home as well as when in public spaces. As the “How to” series continues, this week’s attention will be aimed at how to properly wear and take off a facial mask.

This information is both timely and crucial as more and more states are opening some public spaces originally considered nonessential. Alabama is one of those states. With this reopening of more nonessential public spaces many municipalities like the City of Birmingham, and businesses such as major airlines and ride share companies Uber, are now requiring the wearing of a facial mask when in an open public space.

Understanding how to properly wear and remove your facial mask is important in the fight against this virus. The mask’s purpose is to help with the prevention and spreading of this invisible enemy called COVID 19. All information contained in this article is derived from the CDC.

Facial masks are highly recommended by the CDC because it is helpful when in public places where social distancing is difficult. The masks are also helpful when people come in contact with individuals who are unaware they have the virus so it won’t be unknowingly transmitted. Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under the age of two.

How to Wear a Cloth Face Covering

Cloth face coverings should:
• Fit snugly but comfortable against the side of the face
• Be secured with ties or ear loops
• Include multiple layers of fabric
• Allow for breathing without restriction
• Be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change of shape.
• Cover your nose and fit slightly underneath your chin

Cloth mask should be washed or cleaned regularly. The cleaning frequency depends upon its usage. A washing machine should suffice in properly washing a face covering.

It is important to be careful when taking off your facial mask. When removing the mask, it should not touch your eyes, nose, and mouth. Make sure you wash your hands immediately after removing the mask. This allows you to Keep an Eye on Safety during each step from beginning to end.