Top 5 Mask Tips
Strategies to help make this unexpected “accessory” work for you.
Mask Filtration Demystified
It is common practice for healthcare providers take the precaution of wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks and gloves when they perform certain procedures. PPE is typically used to reduce the exposure of the wearer to potential pathogens or irritants. With the limited access to medical PPE, many have turned to cloth masks. However, many have also been wondering what’s the point of wearing a cloth mask that is unable to filter out the tiny size of a virus. That is a good question.
There are also other factors besides the particle size of a virus or irritant, such as whether it is likely to be suspended in liquid and transmitted via droplet or free floating on its own. For example, viral respiratory infections are commonly transmitted via droplet spread. I.e. the virus is spread through very small drops of things like saliva and snot, which are propelled into the environment via coughing and sneezing. Besides the obvious “ick” factor, this is the reason why we always see recommendations to “cover your cough.” Droplets are obviously spread with the loud “achoooo!” of the common cold, but also could be shared via less-obvious means such as talking and laughing.
Even non-medical masks, such as the now popular DIY cloth masks could be helpful to reduce the droplets that we unintentionally share with the world. Rather than going out into our immediate environment completely unchecked, at least some of them could be stopped by the fabric covering our nose and mouth. Also, when interacting with someone else, a number of their would-be shared droplets may be trapped on the outside of our protective mask… rather than going directly to our vulnerable mucous membranes of the nose and mouth.
Mask-Wearing Tips and Tricks
So now you have a mask and are wearing it in public settings, but are having some struggles. Here are some strategies to manage common problems you may encounter.