Mask etiquette key to fighting COVID-19

We all know face coverings (masks) are mandatory.  I’m not going to cover where and when you need to wear a face covering.  That information is available and I’ve printed the links below so you know where to get more info.

I’m more concerned in this column about how people wear and handle their face coverings.  Public Health has some great information on this topic as well.  It’s really not something most of us had to think about six months ago.  Now it’s top of mind every time we leave our home.

Public Health states wearing a mask can help to prevent the spread of some respiratory illnesses, but it can also become a source of infection if not worn or discarded properly. When you wear a mask, you should also be sure to clean your hands frequently with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

How to wear a mask: Before putting on your mask, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 15 seconds or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Secure the elastic loops of the mask around your ears. If your mask has strings, tie them securely behind your head. Cover your mouth and nose with the mask and make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask. Do not touch the front of the mask while you wear it. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 15 seconds or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if you accidentally touch your mask. How to remove your mask: Do not touch the front of your mask to remove it. Remove the elastic loops of the mask from around your ears or untie the strings from behind your head. Hold only the loops or strings and place the mask in a garbage bin with a lid. If it’s reusable put it in the laundry. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 15 seconds or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer after you have removed your mask.  When a mask becomes damp or humid, replace it with a new mask. Do not reuse a single-use mask and discard when you have finished using it.

To summarize the above, Public Health has the following to say about how to safely wear a mask. Do wash your hands before putting it on & taking it off. Do make sure it fits to cover your mouth & nose. Do wash your cloth mask in the laundry. Do clean surfaces that a dirty mask touches. Don’t touch your face or mask while using it. Don’t use masks on children under two or those who can’t breathe with them on. Don’t share your mask with others. Don’t wear medical masks, keep them for health care workers.

The above information is from Public Health.  The website of Hastings & Prince Edward Public Health has lots more information on masks and face coverings.  There’s also a video on how to use a face covering properly.  Visit  www.hpepublichealth.ca To read about the additional requirements for wearing a face covering in Prince Edward County you can access the by-law at www.thecounty.ca/county-residents/covid-19/

-Debbie MacDonald Moynes