Wearing Masks: we’ve got you covered

As we ease into our “new normal,” we are adopting behaviours and habits that only a short time ago would seem strange to most of us. One of these behaviours is wearing a non-medical mask. It sounds simple, but there are a few things to consider:

When to wear
People are now being encouraged to wear non-medical masks when it’s difficult to maintain a social distancing space of six feet or more (i.e., shopping in grocery stores, using public transit). Wearing a mask is on the same level as washing your hands and practising cough etiquette. A mask alone will not protect you from COVID-19.

You’ll also need to wear a mask if you’re ill and in public (i.e., going to a medical appointment), as wearing one prevents you from spreading germs to others.

These recommendations may change as the pandemic evolves.

Personal protective equipment shortage
Globally, there’s been shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE). One critical piece of PPE is masks. So, it’s best to use a non-medical-grade mask to ensure our front-line health workers always have access to the medical-grade masks they need to work safely.

Considerations when buying
Cotton and linen masks are breathable and durable, making them good choices. Masks should also be machine washable so you can throw them in laundry after each use. Some masks are designed so you can insert a coffee filter as an added layer of protection. If you want to pair masks with your outfits, that’s up to you. Some people would say they’re becoming a fashion must-have.

There’s many online vendors for masks. The Coast magazine has compiled a list of local mask-makers.

How to wear
Proper fit is important, and so is placement. The mask needs to cover your mouth and nose and not be moved around or adjusted to accommodate drinking, eating or smoking. When you touch your face to adjust the mask, you increase your risk of contracting the virus.

Do not share your mask with others and wash after each use.

How to make
Maybe you’re feeling crafty and want to try your hand at making your own mask. There are instructions online for no-sew masks. Or if you’re keen to dust off your old sewing machine, there are patterns available.

Word of caution
Children ages two and younger should not wear masks. And any mask you wear must be breathable–if you generally have trouble breathing a mask may not be the best choice for you. Masks should not interfere with your eyesight.

Remember, masks are mainly intended to keep others safe from exposure to your germs if you are infected. And along with practising excellent hygiene, it’s a good practice to wear one when you’re in places where it’s difficult to maintain social distancing.

Stay friendly. Friendliness is one of Nova Scotia’s core values, and wearing a mask shouldn’t prevent you from smiling, waving your hand or nodding your head to others when passing.

Have you tried making your own mask? Tell us about it (and share your tips) in the comment section below.

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Comments

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Submitted By: Nancy Stoddart

I’ve made and given away over 200 masks . I was a quilter but lost interest with age…my stash of cotton fabric is almost gone now so I will have to slow down.. I think masks are a good idea and I’m happy that so many have reached out to accept my offer. It shows that people care about others.

Submitted By: Peg Scherzinger

2 tips for masks.
1) Strips of T-shirt material ( cut about 1 cm wide) will work as ear loops as they have some stretch. When stretched they curl to have a rounded shape.
2) A flexible nose piece can be made with one or two pieces of light wire (about 8-10 cm long) covered with electrical tape. I fold the ends of the wire in to avoid them poking through the tape, then lay the wire on a strip of tape and fold it around the wire. Some experimentation is needed wire wire size to get the right flexibility

Submitted By: Freda Williams

Long twist ties, doubled over, work well for the wires for over the nose on masks.