In a time such as this pandemic the world is experiencing right now, lots of changes happen in human life. Even though you are not used to what’s in today, you know everyone has to bear with these changes a little longer. The normal way life is lived, the usual look of the roads and the daily noise of the streets — they obviously have become kind of foreign even to people who know what their “home” is.
Well, truly, hang on a bit tighter. This COVID-19 pandemic is soon going to end, and while the whole world works and waits, people must actively take part in the betterment that everybody wants to achieve.
One of the seemingly simple ways yet also one of the biggest ways to protect yourself from the disease-causing COVID-19 is to wear a face mask. It helps prevent the spread of the virus which can be transmitted through respiratory droplets of different sizes such as saliva. You shield yourself well and also other people when you decide to be obedient in wearing face masks. Bear in mind that simply knowing that face masks help a lot is not enough. You have to properly use it too.
Check out the list of 7 tips below on how to effectively wear a face mask when you are outside the house! These are very helpful especially when you travel.
 KNOW THE RIGHT TYPES TO USE
There are many types of face masks, and you have surely known more about them because of the COVID-19 pandemic that absolutely made everybody look for face masks! To ensure that you are protected with the right thing, learn about the main purposes of all types of mask. It would help to know the most recommended kind of face mask to use.
N95 masks are used by many common people today to shield themselves from the Coronavirus, however, be aware that these are professional respirators needed mostly in hospitals and other medical institutions. They are used by medical healthcare workers. The supply is getting short, so the mass should also be aware when buying, considering that N95 masks should be reserved for health care providers and other frontliners in several industries.
If you are looking into wearing cloth masks, see to it that you buy those with safe and breathable material that does not allow dust, dirt and other microscopic elements to penetrate. In case you want to make one for your own, you can watch free video tutorials online, but be mindful: quality over design always!
Surgical or procedural masks provide protection against respiratory droplet spread. They are not tight when worn, so they are convenient and very effective. What’s even more beneficial is that they are resistant to fluids. Bigger respiratory droplets that come from sneezes and coughs are restrained from getting in.
 WEAR IT AT ALL TIMES
Regardless of where you are going outside your house, wear a face mask at all times! Public places like markets, malls, banks, convenience stores and many more are areas where most people go, even during this pandemic. It’s because essentials are needed from them.
In other countries where some public places like tourist spots, parks, restaurants, beaches and other leisure spots are found, a face mask should not be forgotten. Even if you say that the number of people allowed in those places are so limited, you cannot be sure whether or not there are some asymptomatic people there.
Sometimes, you might feel hot and sweaty wearing a face mask all the time outside the house, but it’s for your own total safety! You can just wipe your face, and put the mask back. You may also take it off for a while when you are away from other people, but as long as there are people around, completely refrain from removing it. Don’t take the risk, even if it’s the slightest!
 COMPLETELY COVER YOUR NOSE AND MOUTH
People wear face masks, and that’s a good thing to see. However, the bad thing is that some people neglect the proper way of doing so. Some do not include the nose when wearing a face mask. Do not be like that! You’re like taking off half of the face mask’s sole purpose and function which is to prevent droplets from getting into your body through the nose and mouth.
When wearing a face mask, correctly place the stretchable ear loops over your ears. Do it carefully to avoid breaking the loops. You do not need to exert too much force on them. Now, make sure that from your nose bridge to the part below your chin, all are fully covered! The mask must not be very tight, but it must be very secure enough to not easily get removed by active movements and strong winds.
There is a metal part on the uppermost section of the surgical mask, the one that lies on top of the nose bridge. Pinch it to set the mask even more firmly on your face. Somehow, it also makes you feel that the mask is closed against outside elements.
 DO NOT JUST PULL IT DOWN TO YOUR CHIN
When you take the face mask off a bit, you tend to just pull it down to your neck, so you can easily put it back without a hassle. This is not advisable because when you do that, you bring the clean face mask to the neck which was exposed to the environment. Then, you will put it back on, so the dirt on the neck gets transferred to your face.
If you are going to put it off a little, just take off the whole face mask. Also when you are eating, do not pull the face mask off to the chin because it will get stained. Secure it well, then just put it back on. Even when you think that your neck is not exposed to an unhealthy atmosphere, you never know. Being extra sure is always a top choice!
 REPLACE AFTER LONG HOURS OF USING IT
Surgical face masks which are disposal have a time limit when it comes to the hours of usage. According to medical professionals, one surgical face mask is to be used up to 4 to 5 hours a day only. After that, replace it with a new one.
After the recommended hours of wearing a face mask have passed, its effectiveness diminishes. Aside from the mask might feel, smell and look dirty already beyond 4 to 5 hours of use, contamination gets its chance on you more easily that way.
 TAKE AN EXTRA IN CASE OF SUDDEN NEED
In case you do not know whether or not you will exceed 4 to 5 hours outside of your house, make sure you bring an extra face mask! Also, in case you suddenly need an extra because the other one fell on the floor, got dirty, was torn and experienced other mishaps, you have a new one to take out.
 DISPOSE RESPONSIBLY
Everybody uses face masks now, and that’s good because people follow. The challenge however is maintaining the discipline of disposing them responsibly!
Throw your face masks to the right trash bins after use! It would be better to tear or cut them, so no one else can use them. Do not just drop them on the ground or outside your car’s window! No one in the right mind does that! Instead of helping to stop the spread of viruses, you are making way for them even more if you do not know proper disposal!
A CLOTH OF SAFETY
The Coronavirus causing the life-threatening COVID-19 is definitely an unseen enemy. That is why people should be very careful about themselves. Keep in mind that staying healthy is also keeping your family and loved ones, who are with you at home, safe and secure.
Nowadays, it is better to be extra meticulous than to regret later. Even if you do not go to crowded places or to areas with confirmed COVID-19 patients, wearing a mask will help you be certainly covered, in case any virus tries to sneak in!
This face mask might be just a piece of cloth, yet it can save lives when used well. Its purpose becomes more effective when people like you utilize it properly. The world outside is still not as safe and healthy as it was before this pandemic happened, so do not ignore the importance and advantage of being health-conscious and compliant to all protocols and rules implemented today.
Author Bio: Nicole Ann Pore is a writer, an events host and a voice over artist. She graduated Cum Laude from De La Salle University, Manila.