Are you wearing your mask correctly? (Yes, it matters)


There’s a lot of hope for the end of the lockdowns to be around the corner, now that the vaccine is beginning to be deployed. However, health agencies are reminding us that it may be some time before we are able to drop our masks entirely. It may even be that in the future that our mask wearing habits change, and we take out our masks whenever we have any sort of cold, flu or other respiratory illness. 

The point being, masks are going to be here to stay for quite awhile, and may remain in some form or another even after the pandemic is over. This means that if you haven’t learned it already, you should figure out the proper mask wearing etiquette. 

You might think that after a year of Covid-19 precautions and measures, we’d all have a pretty good understanding of how to best use our masks, but you’d be surprised how many people still haven’t clued in. If you don’t care about protecting yourself, that’s fine - but bad mask practices are simply rude to everyone you encounter while outside.

No Mask - This one should be obvious. Most stores don’t let anyone in without a mask, so why should this be any different in public places? Without a mask you’ll have people worrying what you’re breathing all over them. This should feel as weird to you as going out without pants on - just don’t.

Wearing Substitute Masks - Some people figure that a scarf or tightened hood is the same as wearing a mask - it's not. These ‘makeshift masks’ leave far too much room for potentially COVID carrying particles to escape or enter. The best mask is, unsurprisingly, a mask. 

Incorrectly Worn Masks - A mask is only as useful as you use it properly. Masks that are worn below the nose, are just as bad as wearing no mask at all, removing the whole point of the mask in the first place. Remember your respiratory system connects your nose and your mouth to your lungs. Make sure your mask is covering your mouth and your nose and has a firm fit under your chin and over your ears. We have a Fit and Care page to give you tips if you need them! 

Incorrectly Sized Masks - It may be that you’re finding wearing your mask difficult. If this is the case, it could very well be because the mask is incorrectly sized for your face. Make sure that when you get a mask you’re buying one that fits you well. Taller people often need to hunt down specifically large sized masks to properly cover all their face - if you’re particularly petite, on the other hand, large masks may fall right off your face. Make sure your mask is fitted for you! If you need to get a mask that fits, we’re happy to help. 

Vented Masks - You might also see people with “vented masks”, sporting large vents near the mouth. While this supposedly is to help you breathe easier, they’re also entirely useless at the purpose of keeping others safe. The vented masks only protect you from incoming air, and do nothing to stop outgoing air at all. It’s not even clear if the open design will protect you at all.

A lot of these etiquette procedures seem basic, but even little steps can go a long way towards being polite and respectful to those around you. Wearing a mask wrong, or wearing an ill fitting mask puts everyone around you at greater risk. We have to do our best to look out for each other, and all it takes is a little thought and care.

Check out more tips from the CDC.

Image from source.