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Dr. V demonstrating how to properly wear a mask||

How to Properly Wear a Mask

So it's really important when we wear a mask to cover our nose and our mouth. If the mask is not covering the nose--just the mouth-- and you have an infection, you're still at risk of exposing others. So, it's very important to cover your nose and your mouth so that you're not exposing others and you're containing your secretions in the mask.

I'm going to demonstrate how to wear a mask appropriately (see video above for visual).

First, I'm going to start off with hand sanitizing. Then, I'm going to grab my mask, put it on over my face, and put the bands around my ears or tie the ties behind my head. Then, I am going to pinch right above my nose, just like that. I also make sure that my nose and my mouth are well covered so my secretions are not exposing to others. And now I'm going to hand sanitize again since I touched my face to make sure I clean my hands.

How to Properly Take Off Your Mask

First, I'm going hand sanitize again, and I'm going use my fingers to take off the bands around my ear lobes or to untie my mask. If it is a disposable mask, I will dispose of it in the proper container.

If I want to reuse this mask and keep it in a safe area, I will have a paper towel that is clean, so I can lay the mask down on that clean paper towel and then I will use my hand sanitizer. After I take a sip of drink, or I eat my food, I'll do hand sanitizing again, pick up the mask and put it back on.

Ways NOT to Wear a Mask

If you wear a mask with your nose exposed, this is not appropriate, because you're not containing your secretions from your nose.

You also shouldn't wear your mask under you chin with your nose and mouth exposed because you're not containing your secretions from your nose or mouth.

When storing your mask, if you put the mask under your arm to hold it, that is not appropriate because you contaminate the mask, and you shouldn't put it back on your face after that.

Why Should Everyone Wear a Mask When Going Out

It's really important to wear a mask because during the COVID pandemic infection, there are both symptomatic patients and asymptomatic carriers. So, you might have the infection, but you might not know. So as we are seeing a lot of places opening up, and when Nebraska is ready to open up and have more people interact with each other, it's going to be really important to protect each other. If you're sick and if you wear a mask, you are containing that secretion that is coming from your nose or your mouth, which will protect others. There's a misconception that if you wear a mask you're protecting yourself; it's actually that when you wear a mask, you're protecting others from you.

So for me, it's not about me; it's about us in the community and how we can keep each other protected. If we wear a mask--all of us--and practice good hand hygiene and social distancing, we will help each other safe and we could keep this infection under control.

See latest updates around COVID-19 from CHI Health.

Renuga Vivekanandan, MD
Renuga Vivekanandan, MD

Renuga Vivekanandan, MD is an Infectious Disease provider with CHI Health.

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